In this trying time with the Coronavirus (COVID 19) upon us, the one thing that seems certain is uncertainty.
Creative and out-of-the-box thinking, flexibility and need to think on your feet is critical with the rapidly changing tides. Who better than Aging Life Care Professionals® to meet this challenge?
As a midsize practice in Newton, Massachusetts, we, like you, have been vigorously reviewing the protocols of the CDC, the protocols and requests of the communities and facilities that we work in every day, and inserting our own thoughts and ideas around creatively meeting the needs of our clients, protecting our staff and responding to rapidly changing circumstances.
I am hoping by sharing information, that we as a community of professionals can support one another and together overcome what is a challenging time in history.
First, breathe. Lower your shoulders and unclench your jaw. Take time to focus on relaxing your body and releasing stress. Without this practice you will be less likely to think creatively and innovatively which is of the upmost importance at this time. Studies show that when we are in stress mode or “fight or flight” our focus is narrow and aimed towards survival rather than innovation and creativity.
Next, we are better together. Reach out to colleagues, corporate partners, and professionals in your area and work together to support one another and your practices in different and creative ways than you may otherwise do in normal circumstances.
Lastly remember, this too shall pass. We are resilient and have all struggled and come through difficult times, and in normal circumstances we, as Aging Life Care Professionals, are tasked with meeting what may seem like insurmountable challenges daily.
Here are some suggested strategies that you may employ for your practices and your clients:
- Proactively write a letter to all clients, families and responsible parties ensuring them that you, and your staff if applicable, are taking this very seriously, following the CDC guidelines and also the protocols and restrictions of the communities, hospitals and other locations that you frequent. (see links below)
- Communicate all protocols and precautions to staff and any other professionals that may come into contact with you and your clients.
- Review your client’s individual circumstances and implement the suggested “on-hand” supplies and necessities. (http://blog.aginglifecare.org/blog/corona-virus-how-aging-life-care-managers-can-help-families-prepare-for-emergencies/)
- Consider canceling any non-essential appointments for clients, including the appropriate decision-makers if applicable, and/or explore alternative ways to meet the same needs (i.e.: videoconference options with doctors and medical providers).
- Reduce exposure for clients that typically go into the community by arranging home-delivered food, medical supplies, or other needs.
- Explore options for “face-time” or video call with families or other groups to keep client engaged while reducing exposure.
- Ensure that any provider of home care services is themselves following CDC guidelines.
Aging Life Care Professionals are dedicated, smart, and responsive and can support clients as they need during illness outbreaks. The coronavirus epidemic is concerning but having an Aging Life Care Professional at your side can be another preventative measure to keep stay calm in the face of uncertainty.
Kate Granigan is CEO of Life Care Advocates, a life care management practice in Newton, Ma. Kate began her career with the Visiting Nurse Association as a medical social worker and went on to found her own care management practice, CARE, in 1999. For the next 10 years, Kate grew her practice until, in 2009, it was acquired by Masonic Health Systems, a nonprofit organization, where Kate acted as the Vice President of Care Management until joining LifeCare Advocates as CEO in 2016.