Special Measures adopted by Stichting Ark during Coronavirus restrictions
Following guidelines from the Government and the RIVM (National Institute of Public Health and the Environment) Ark’s priority during this time is the health & safety not only of our clients and staff but also of the wider community. Since the measures announced by Government (13.03.2020) designed to control the spread of the virus, our focus has been to keep social contact between households to a minimum. However, our clients are vulnerable children with complex needs who require intensive one-to-one support. Along with other organisations in the care sector, we have had clear guidance from government, municipalities and other contract partners. This guidance states that the care and services we provide should continue, albeit in altered forms that balance the emergency needs of our clients and families, with the need to protect public health.
Therefore, in order to minimise the effects of this disruption, and as far as possible maintain stability and continuity of care for our clients and their families, Ark immediately set in place the following contingency plans:
- Immediate formation of a dedicated Crisis Team to establish best practice for continuity of care within the changed landscape of the coronavirus restrictions
- Draw up protocols for compliance with regulations from statutory organisations (RIVM; GGD; Rijksoverheid; VNG; Gemeentes and other contract partners)
- Set up small teams of educators to focus on the needs of individual children and families.
- Discussions with other special needs childcare organisations and quality managers.
The following new arrangements for continuity of care have been in place at Ark since 16.03.2020:
1. For all parents of Ark clients:
- Telephone contact to discuss continuity of care and assess clients’ and families’ needs for maintaining the child’s progress and minimising disruptive and challenging situations.
- Regular (at least weekly) contact to monitor and change plans and provision as necessary.
2. For parents who are able to manage the situation reasonably well themselves at home:
- We prepare and deliver a selection of resources, materials and activities for parents to work with their child at home.
- Feedback sessions, for advice, ‘tips and tricks’ for successful sessions, plannng a daily schedule and dealing with challenging situations.
- Parents can contact the child’s Keyworker at any time if they encounter any difficulties.
- Where appropriate, the Keyworker and parents directly receive advice and input from Ark’s Sensory Integration and Physical Therapist, Speech and Communication Therapist, and Senior Management Team.
- Where possible, face-to-face video sessions between educators, specialists and children. If needed Ark will provide an educator at home to help a child focus on a video session with a specialist.
- Content of activities reviewed at least weekly and replaced or modified as necessary.
- Reports on progress and challenges made at least weekly by each child’s Keyworker.
- Regular (at least weekly) reviews of developmental goals and intervention strategies led by the child’s Keyworker in consultation with team members, specialists and parents
3. For clients whose challenges mean parents cannot manage at home on their own:
- Each child has a small team of visiting educators, limited to a maximum of 3 per household (preferably fewer) supervised by each child’s Keyworker.
- Educators work with the child at home on goals to maintain the child’s development and sensory regulation.
- These educators do not visit other children’s homes and are careful to limit their own social interactions outside of work.
- RIVM guidelines for hygiene and social distancing are observed as closely as possible.
- Daily checks are made by Keyworkers to ensure that visiting educators and all members of the household being visited are free of any (even mild) cold or flu symptoms. Where there are any symptoms, visits will be cancelled until all concerned are free of symptoms.
4. For clients whose challenges mean continuing in home environment is no longer possible:
Where continued isolation at home proves too challenging, the situation could be at best, detrimental to the child’s development, and at worst, potentially damaging or dangerous. For these clients we will:
- Re-open Ark’s premises to take a limited number of children for day visits outside the home.
- Clients are brought to Ark by the child’s parent(s) (not using public transport).
- While at Ark, each child is assigned one educator from the child’s team.
- Numbers in each space are restricted to a maximum of 2 children and 2 educators.
- Nether children nor educators will mix between spaces.
- One supervisor is on site in case of accident or emergency.
- RIVM guidelines on hygiene and social distancing are observed wherever possible.