How do we adjust operations for residential facilities in lockdown?
Residential care facilities are also needing to make significant changes to how they operate. Needs may arise as children are not in school and some facilities may go to a lean staff to lessen the chances of contagion.
Thank you to Helping Children Worldwide for special insight in this article.
Operational guidelines for residential care
CONSIDER LARGER PURCHASES
Having a large freezer to reduce the amount of shopping that is needed may be a helpful addition, especially if you’re looking to stockpile some food. If it is possible to get a generator that can also help in areas where consistent electricity is a problem.
REVIEW AND REVISE ESSENTIAL INFORMATION AND CARE PLANS FOR EACH CHILD
Certain children within care may have heightened health vulnerabilities. Ensure essential information for the child is accurate by calling their parents or caregivers and speaking with the child. Establish a care plan that will minimize health vulnerabilities taking into account illnesses, immunizations, disabilities and so on.
PROMOTE RELATIONSHIPS OVER PHONE
Allow children to maintain connection with their parents and other loved ones outside the facility. Times of stress can lead a child to worry about the well-being of others in their lives. Maintaining touch can soothe those concerns.
PROMOTE RELATIONSHIPS WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING
For staff and children that are within the facility, set up a roped off area at the facility’s perimeter where outside visitors can visit from a distance. By ensuring a few meters in between and not touching each other, the risk of contagion can be mitigated.
Managing staff at the facility
MANAGE STAFF DURING LOCKDOWNS
Some residential facilities that go into full lockdown may give their staff options of whether they want to be in the facility full-time or stay at home for partial or reduced salary. In a lockdown scenario, having staff volunteer is crucial and the leader must be discerning if a particular staff is a healthy fit for being in the facility for this unknown period of time. Another option is flexing vacation time so that staff can be fully paid but at home with their own family. Giving your staff the choice can increase their buy-in to the changes and improve morale. Critical staff may include.
- A nurse
- A security guard
- Education staff
- A program manager
- A staff on the outside to conduct shopping, as needed
MANAGING OVERTIME PAY
For staff that are receiving overtime pay due to the lockdown, consider putting into the agreement that during the indeterminate length of time that the lockdown is happening, the staff’s overtime pay will be put into savings so that they have a financial opportunity on the other side of the crisis.
CREATE A STAFF CONTINGENCY PLAN
If staff become ill and are not able to work, your organization should have a plan to replace staff to maintain safe levels of care and oversight. In full lockdown, staff should still have days off even if they remain in the compound.
EXPAND ROLES OF STAFF WITHIN LOCKDOWN
Your staff has an opportunity to utilize additional skills during lockdown and a reduced number of staff. Caretakers may need to start cooking, security guards may need to organize outdoor activities and so on.