Independence Center Goes Virtual
Independence Center continues to push forward amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Since March 16th, we have been working hard to shift all services to mobile, remote, or virtual. We understand that this crisis strikes directly at the heart of our model that is built on social connection, but we have had to make the difficult decisions quickly to protect the health and safety of our members, staff, partners, and the larger St. Louis Community.
Our programs quickly pivoted so that we continue to provide great mental health care. Below we have provided a recap of what is going on in each program and it is A LOT.
A Message from Mark Bethell, Executive Director
Thank you to our staff, who have been working tirelessly to make all these changes. We could not be more thankful for their commitment, time, and effort. As an organization, we were used to providing in-person direct services and the COVID-19 outbreak has forced us to think creatively, work together, and be willing to make swift changes so that we can adapt to a new way of providing mental health care to our members.
Residential went into quarantine on March 12th, knowing that their facilities were at higher risk for contagion. They have continued to adapt their procedures so that all staff wear masks, take their temperature before reporting to work, and try to mitigate physical interactions. Staff has also switched to food delivery service, rather than going to the store to lessen the chance of picking up the disease.
IC Welcome Center & IC Health Group:
The Welcome Center remains open but is currently conducting screenings by phone. We continue to accept new members and new referrals for our programs.
IC Health Group continues to offer counseling, psychiatric, and injections for members. We have pivoted to doing as much as possible virtually or over the phone. Providers continue to carry a full schedule and see people from 9:00am -4:00pm daily. All team members are required to wear masks and report their temperatures before any face to face interaction with members. Anyone receiving services in person is also screened and have their temperature taken. Cleaning routines have been increased to lessen any possible contagion.
Healthcare Home continues to partner with all other service lines to provide physical health care. Team members continue to conduct health assessments and medical screenings as well as provide opportunities for members to connect with a primary care physician. Community Support Staff have gone above and beyond to coordinate calls with their members and the doctor so that everyone remains informed and involved. Donna Greenberg, our Wellness Specialist, has also mastered Zoom technology to bring members and staff virtual exercise classes three times a week.
Community Support Staff are adapting to care coordination for their members. CSS typically work in the community helping members get to and from appointments, helping to secure resources, and work closely with members to provide support mental health recovery care. Now, CSS are working remotely -checking in with members, delivering groceries, and helping members navigate new telehealth care. When necessary, CS staff provide face to face contact with members. CSS staff are encouraged to wear masks and practice social distancing when conducting face to face interactions.
After making the hard decision to close the physical space of the Clubhouse, members and staff worked together to create an online virtual Clubhouse. The groups now boasts 157 members, 411 posts, and countless comments and reactions. The Clubhouse has additionally created a full calendar of Zoom meetings for the work ordered week, much of them mirroring meetings that would happen in the physical space. They are now working on building out work groups that will continue to define the virtual space. Work groups will be focus on specific topics and will allow members and staff to participate in Work Order Day tasks. The groups as of now are: budgeting, employment, virtual clubhouse, food access, tech support, social programming/EWH, colleague connection, education, and wellness.
Calendar of Zoom Clubhouse Meetings
Many of the changes in programs have increased access for those not able to physically able to attend and this will likely continue long after the COVID-19 outbreak. We are so proud of the work being done and want to remind everyone that this is an ongoing pandemic and everyone should continue to care for themselves. The best way to combat the spread is to continue to follow social distancing practices and practice good hand hygiene. Stay informed and connected to friends, family, and neighbors. If you need additional support during this time, we have added a Resource page to our website and have some of those resources listed below.
How You Can Help:
Pivoting all of these programs and adapting the way we care for our members obviously comes at a cost to the organization. We feel strongly that our members deserve the best mental health care, which now includes providing assistance with meals, offering more mobile outreach, securing cell phone and internet access. Please consider making a donation to help us continue to do this life-sustaining work.
BHR Crisis Line: 314-469-6644 or (TTY) 314-469-3638
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. At 8 a.m. today, the hotline opened and can be reached at 877-435-8411. The hotline is being operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 or are asked to self-quarantine, please call your CSS or Unit Staff to help you navigate the process.
Please share this message with members and other community participants.
For the most up-to-date resources, information and guidance on the coronavirus epidemic, please consult the following resources: