Last week we celebrated Nurses Week, and if you ask us, one week just doesn’t seem like enough!
What would we be without our tremendous team of Incompass nurses? We’d be falling apart quite literally! We are indebted to them for their gracious dedication to supporting the vulnerable people in our programs and group homes.
The timing also couldn’t have been better to award Kate Burk, part of the nursing team, with an ADDP Continuing Education scholarship. A big thanks to Seven Hills Foundation and Justice Resource Institute, the sponsors who make this type of aid available to our care champions. Well deserved, indeed!
Kate Burk and Incompass COO Al Frugoli pose together.
In the midst of this pandemic, caravans have become a familiar way to preserve our sense of community – connecting with loved ones and celebrating milestones. A week ago today, the Care Champions Caravan traveled to all 16 of the LifeLinks CLASS group homes to thank our direct support professionals for the incredible dedication they exemplify every day.
Chris Snell, Clinical Director, talks about how the idea came together after speaking with a group home manager, “As he [Simon] spoke to the depths of those struggles it slowly became clear that he was conveying concerns not for himself, but for the safety and well-being of the people that live in the group homes he manages. That conversation opened our eyes to the magnitude of the selflessness our frontline professionals engage in every day during these trying times.” There was a consensus across the leadership team that we needed to show our appreciation in a big way. “Our homes are designed and maintained to blend in with others in the neighborhood. We work very hard at this. The goal here though was the opposite; to shine the brightest spotlight on each of these 16 programs so they stood out,” explains Angela Otieno, Director of Residential Services.
Thanks to a generous donation by Boston Bean Coffee Company, we were able to surprise each of our group homes with care packages. The caravan was met with cheers and waving hands – described by staff as “spectaculous” and “uplifting”. Neighbors even joined in on the fun!
“Our gratitude knows no bounds,” says CEO Jean Phelps. “Our direct support professionals, managers, and nursing staff have willingly and selflessly worked to ensure the safety and health of our residents while keeping them engaged and supported during the Covid-19 pandemic. We always knew that LifeLinks CLASS staff are the best of the best, these past several weeks have proven it over and over. We are proud to salute our care champions and to thank them through this small gesture of our love and appreciation.”
CEO Jean Phelps was recently interviewed by Vox in a feature story on the challenges that people with intellectual disabilities are facing during the pandemic.
“In order for a resident of a group home or other residential service to have that full life, they need dedicated, compassionate staff who can support them, guide and mentor them, and help them to achieve the personal goals that each has for their own lives,” said Jean Phelps, CEO of LifeLinks CLASS, an organization that provides support to people living with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.
Before COVID-19, Phelps told me, it was hard enough to recruit staff to help residents, given the low wages and that many people don’t appropriately value the work. With day programs and work opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities shut down during the pandemic, some agencies were having issues maintaining safe staffing levels with residents being at home more often.”