Through collaborations with trusted community partners, our Family Support Center is organizing a variety of virtual events. that touch on health, wellness and performing arts. The events are open to the community and we encourage everyone to join. In addition to virtual events, our family support specialists are rounding up activities that you can take advantage of at home — click here to read more.
Our Day Habilitation and Clinical teams are also organizing events that are open to those in the Day Program and Family Support service portfolio. Our goal is to support you and your loved ones as best we can through this Coronavirus outbreak.
“Eileen Lee, a service coordinator for the LifeLinks Class Family Support Center in Massachusetts, an affiliated chapter of The Arc, has had similar struggles with her 32-year-old son Michael, who has a severely compromised immune system and an intellectual disability. Michael is now homebound with Eileen, 65, and her 71-year-old husband; Michael’s usual routine — the day program that allows him to work at a company where he inventories and refurbishes old electronics; the volunteer outings at local fire stations — has been halted for the foreseeable future.
“Everything has come to a stop. There is just no place for him to go,” Eileen said. It’s not even safe for Michael to go to Tufts Medical Center, where he receives weekly infusions to support his immune system. Now, a nurse will come to their home, Eileen said, and she worries about even that level of exposure.
“We are taking this so seriously, because if this disease goes to Michael’s lungs —” she paused. “He’s a goner. There’s no getting around it, and it’s so frightening.”
In the midst of the deepening crisis, and reports that overwhelmed hospitals may ultimately be forced to ration care — potentially prioritizing patients who are deemed most likely to survive — parents like Eileen and Lisa are left to consider what that might mean for their children.”
We are closely monitoring developments related to the Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, as the health and safety of the people we serve and our staff and is our top priority.
First, it’s important to remember that even though the risk for coronavirus is currently low; the flu risk in Massachusetts remains high. These simple precautions will help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:
Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, using a tissue or the inside of your elbow
Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and warm water frequently and use hand sanitizer
If you have a fever or feel sick, stay home and call your healthcare provider
Get the flu vaccine — it is not too late!
LifeLinks CLASS has always followed the guidelines for universal precautions and we utilize stringent cleaning and sanitation processes as most of the persons we support have underlying health issues. Measures are already in place to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria that can cause the flu, coronavirus, cold, and other contagious illnesses including:
Day program facilities and group homes are cleaned and sanitized daily with a bleach and water solution
Hand sanitizer dispensers are readily available at all of our locations
Staff are trained by our nurses on tactics to prevent the spread of airborne illnesses, including proper handwashing
However, creating a safe environment is a community effort, and we need your help. We will ask people we serve, staff, visitors including family members, vendors and others from the community to stay home if you are showing signs of an airborne illness including fever, cough, and sore throat. Additionally, we do have a robust continuity of operations plan that was just recently updated that will be activated in the event of a local coronavirus outbreak.
If you’re interested in learning more facts about the coronavirus, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) launched mass.gov/2019coronavirus, a web portal that includes extensive information and the latest updates.
Unfortunately, it appears that we will be confronted with the COVID-19 virus for some time still to come. LifeLinks CLASS will continue to provide information and updates to our community on an as-needed basis and we are always here to answer your questions or address concerns. Feel free to reach out to program managers, directors, clinical or nursing staff, or even my office if you have further questions.
Press release from the Office of Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, dated 3/03/2020.
BOSTON – Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders and Department of Developmental Services (DDS) Commissioner Jane Ryder today joined advocates, legislators and family members of individuals with developmental disabilities for a ceremonial signing of An Act To Protect Persons with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities from Abuse, also known as “Nicky’s Law.”
Administration officials were joined by Nancy Alterio, Director of the Disabled Persons Protection Commission, Leo Sarkissian, Executive Director of the Arc of Massachusetts, family members of the law’s namesake Nicky Chan, and other advocates and legislators to celebrate the enactment of the law, which establishes a new abuse registry of caregivers in Massachusetts.
The registry will be administered by the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC) – the agency tasked with protecting adults with disabilities from the abusive acts or omissions of their caregivers – who will maintain the registry’s list of any providers or caregivers with histories of substantiated abuse. Effective January 31, 2021, any individual listed on the registry cannot be hired or work for DDS or any of its licensed or funded providers throughout the state.
“Protecting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities is vitally important, and I want to thank the family members, advocates and our legislative colleagues for their work to pass this bill,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “The new registry established in Nicky’s Law will provide an additional safeguard against abuse and further improve the safety and quality of services provided to some of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents.”