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COVID-19 Visitation Plan

Please follow these guidelines for visitation.


COVID-19 Protocols
UPDATE: October 15, 2020

To Person’s Supported, Family Members, and Conservators,

As the country continues to adjust and anticipate future planning, it is time for Dawn of Hope to begin doing the same. The people we support are extremely vulnerable to this virus, and with the addition of flu season now upon us we must continue to make sure that the decisions we make are the right ones for the sake of each person we support.

We know you miss your family member and our fondest desire is to go back to some sense of normalcy as soon as possible. Until that time, we have made a few adjustments and additions to our visitation policy that we hope you find helpful.

We continue to follow local, state, and federal guidelines including CDC recommendations, and we are asking our employees to continue the following precautions, and we encourage families and friends of the people we support to do the same where appropriate –

1. ALL Employees must continue to Wear a Mask at all times when working with people supported. This includes when transporting persons supported or when riding with another employee in the vehicle. While we cannot require our staff to wear a mask while they are not working, we encourage them to wear one when they are in public places (grocery store, The Mall, doctor’s office, etc.) both locally and out of town – again for the continued safety of the people we support and yourselves.
2. Continue to Practice Safe Social-Distancing while at work and in the community.
3. Be aware of crowded places and avoid them if at all possible.
4. Avoid potential “hotspots” where the risk of being exposed is higher – airports, buses, trains, beaches, festivals, parties, any place where larger numbers of people gather and the virus may be lurking.
5. Continue to follow the agency’s daily temperature taking protocols as well as utilizing the Staff Screening Tool.
6. Report any symptoms or illness to your supervisor immediately.
7. If you are around friends, family, or traveling companions, please ask them if they have experienced any symptoms of or have potentially been exposed to COVID-19 (if they have been around someone who has tested positive, traveled on a plane or a bus, or have recently been to a “hotspot” for the virus). Please ask them not to be offended. It is a simple precaution we must take to protect the people we support from exposure.

All employees who report that they have been exposed to the Coronavirus are placed on “quarantine” leave, until they are tested at least 48 hours after exposure. After a period of 14 days or a negative test result, employees may return to work.

Community Outings
Dawn of Hope continues to slowly and carefully re-integrate into the community while following specific guidelines.

Persons Supported are able to participate in Community Outings if they choose to do so.

If the Person Supported has a conservator, then permission for outings will be secured from the conservator before the outings occur. When preparing for Community Outings, Dawn of Hope staff will educate the Persons Supported about social distancing, avoiding crowds, wearing a mask, etc.

Staff will offer choices of outings to areas that have a low crowd density and open areas such as parks, walking tracks, picnic areas, shopping centers with low crowds, and open spaces, etc.
After the people supported have been educated, offered choices, and made their decision; staff will consult with their Team Leader/Supervisor to ensure that the outing is appropriate. This conversation will occur prior to leaving the home.

1. Community Outings will continue to occur only on Wednesdays.
2. Community Outings will continue to occur between the hours of 10 am – 2 pm, and preferably last for no more than 2 ½ hours.
3. Community Outings will continue to occur only in safe places – low crowds and at safe distances.
4. We continue to ask/encourage Persons Supported to wear masks during the Community Outings – if they can tolerate and choose to do so. We are also able to offer the person supported the option of wearing a face shield if they cannot tolerate a mask. Staff will continue to be required to wear masks at all times while on Outings with Persons Supported.

As we follow local and state testing data results, our hope is to incrementally and safely increase Community Outings until there are once again no health-related barriers, and Outing days, times, and locations are again fully at the personal choice and pleasure of the people we are supporting.

Community Employment
1. Persons Supported who have jobs in the community should follow all safety precautions as noted above.
2. During working hours and during transport people should wear masks, as well as when around others at work. When social distancing is observed this is an added layer of protection.
3. Please understand that Job Coaches may work with other people in other areas of Dawn of Hope. If you as a family member believe you have been exposed to COVID-19, and/or the person supported has been exposed, please advise the job coach immediately so that the risk of further exposure can be minimized.
4. Job Coaches will be required to clean/disinfect vehicles in between transporting different people supported.

Doctor’s Appointments
Dawn of Hope will continue to utilize Telehealth options when possible and/or available.
If not available, or if the Healthcare Provider feels that the Person Supported needs to be evaluated in person, the clinic will ascertain the protocol for the Healthcare Provider’s office regarding entry to their facility. Staff must wear a mask and we will encourage people supported to wear a mask as well. Social Distancing is encouraged as much as possible.

Therapy Services
Therapy Services in the home will be allowed when the service is deemed necessary by medical professionals to avoid potential adverse effects to the person being supported (i.e. swallowing tests conducted by a Speech Language Pathologist for a person who needs modified food textures to prevent choking.) The following guidelines for therapy services in the home will be as follows:
1. The Therapist must complete the Staff Screening Tool and have their temperature taken by Dawn of Hope staff.
2. The therapy visit will take place on the front porch of the home or in an isolated area away from other house residents.
3. The therapist MUST wear a mask for the entire therapy visit – preferably an N95 mask.
4. Dawn of Hope staff must also wear a mask per agency protocols.
5. The person supported will also be encouraged to wear a mask for the entirety of the therapy visit if they are agreeable and can tolerate.

Family & Friends Residential Visitation
Another protocol we began easing is Visitation by family and friends. The people we support miss you, and Dawn of Hope wants to begin facilitating visits so both you and your family member can catch up.
Families and Friends can make visits to the home under the following guidelines:
1. The visits must be scheduled at least 48-hours in advance so that preparations can be made.
2. Visiting times will be available in 2 hour intervals.
3. The visits must occur outside on the front porch or during cold weather, the garage area of most homes will be fine for visiting in most cases. We understand that this isn’t optimal, however we have to consider the health and safety of ALL people that live and work in the home. We will do our best to help make your visit a fun, productive, and most importantly a healthy one.
4. The Person Supported will be encouraged to wear a mask – if they can tolerate and choose to do so. If not a face shield will be offered as another option.
5. All visiting family members must wear a mask and try to practice social distancing. Visitors must also complete a screening tool which will be evaluated by the DSP on duty, and have a thermometer reading of 99.0 or below.
6. We understand that it may be difficult for the Persons Supported and their families to maintain social distancing, but we need to encourage it.

Persons Supported Visits to the Family’s Home

    Person Supported visits to their family’s home are NOT recommended due to the severe nature of the illness and significantly increased risk of exposure when the person leaves the “bubble” of Dawn of Hope’s precautions and protocols. However, Dawn of Hope recognizes the wish for families to be together occasionally, especially with the holiday season quickly approaching and offers the following guidance.

    During periods of elevated coronavirus exposure risks regionally and locally, all “go home” visits for family members will be temporarily prohibited. A “go home” visit is one which a person supported plans to go home with family members.

    During periods of time when it is deemed a regionally and locally lower risk for exposure, Dawn of Hope will attempt to accommodate “go home” visits when requested and conditions allow. These visits must be scheduled at least 48-hours in advance so that preparations can be made.
    Family members who choose to take their loved one’s home should be aware of the following:

    1. Staffing schedule changes may be required to ensure safety for both persons supported and employees.
    2. Upon person supported return to their Residential Supported Living home,
    a) The person supported will need to temporarily quarantine in the home during which time their exposure to others can be minimized and a COVID-19 test can be performed.
    b) After a period of at least 48 hours post-return to the home, the person supported will be tested and must receive a negative result before re-integration into the household affairs and any community activities.
    c) When family members choose for persons supported to visit them in their homes (a “go home” visit), once returning to Dawn of Hope there may be a need for temporary re-evaluation of the person’s living arrangements which may incur temporary additional expenses or living arrangement changes by the person supported – for quarantine purposes – i.e. renting a hotel room, re-locating to a different home, or moving into a more suitable area of their existing home for isolation etc.
    This is for the purpose of keeping other house members and supporting staff safe.
    d) Any additional expenses necessary for quarantine purposes due to a family or “come home” visit will be the responsibility of the person supported and/or their conservator.
    e) Periodic tests for the virus may occur throughout a 2-week period after returning to Dawn of Hope.
    f) Daily temperatures will be taken as per usual protocols.
    g) After 14 days of and with no symptoms presenting, the person will be considered risk free so long as they do not initiate another event of unknown potential exposure.

    Family Members wishing to take their loved one’s home for visits of hours or days are encouraged to

    1. Sign a “Consent to Visit Home” form agreeing to;
    a) Limit exposure to large crowds
    b) Encourage the person to wear a face mask
    c) Take daily temperatures
    d) To wash hands often
    e) To sanitize hands often
    f) To clean surfaces often, i.e. grocery buggies, cell phones, door knobs etc.
    g) Encourage the person supported to practice safe (6ft) distancing
    h) Sign for a receipt of the COVID Education Packet in behalf of the family and the person supported.
    i) Note all activity and whereabouts during the person’s stay. i.e. went to the Cracker Barrel to eat, went to the mall, went to Dollywood, Uncle Joe came to house to visit, etc.

    • In the event the person supported contracts COVID – 19 while in the care of the family member, then the sick person supported may choose to stay home, or return to Dawn of Hope supported living home, if there is adequate staffing to cover the additional “quarantine” staffing needs

    • In the event the person’s family member becomes ill/tests positive for COVID-19 during the visit, Dawn of Hope must be notified immediately or as soon as possible so that arrangements and precautions may be made for the person supported to return to Dawn of Hope at a time to be arranged between Dawn of Hope and the person’s family.

    • If a member of a Dawn of Hope Residential home is confirmed ill with COVID-19 there will be absolutely no visits of any kind for the duration of Quarantine.

    Please understand – Dawn of Hope’s sole interest is in protecting the health of the people you have entrusted us to support and care for, as well as the health and safety of our staff who are providing supports.

    Protocols may change as the conditions of local area exposure statistics change.

    Based on Washington County School Systems Guidelines with modifications specific for Dawn of Hope, Inc.

    No to Minimal Spread

    Average case rate of less than 11 (DOH#) new Covid 19 cases per 100,000 people over the last 10 days – Visitation Allowed.

    Minimal to Moderate Spread

    Average case rate of 12-16 (DOH#) new Covid 19 cases per 100,000 people over the last 10 days – Visitation Situation Dependent.

    Substantial Spread

    Average case rate of 20 (DOH#) or greater new Covid 19 cases per 100,000 people over the last 10 days – No Visitation.

    • Based on Washington County daily numbers
    • Give families COVID-19 Preparedness Handbook
    • Families will schedule visits with Team Leaders 24 hours in advance, if there is a conflict then the TL’s will notify the Res. Dir.
    • One visit every 7 days, this is due to the fact that symptoms usually present in 3-5 days of being exposed
    • Visits will occur on porches, garages, etc. No visits in the home
    • No physical contact during visits, families and People supported will maintain appropriate social distancing during the visit
    • Families will complete screening tool at every visit:
      • Temp. check
      • Wear Masks
      • Wear gloves
      • Wear gowns-Utilizing gowns may be requested by DOH based on the responses of the screening tool
    • Limited to families only (mother, father, siblings) any additional guests must be approved by Health and Safety Committee
    • If any DOH PS or staff (DSP, Job Coach, LPN) presents with symptoms and are being tested then all visits are suspended (all homes) until the test results are received, regardless of the numbers for Washington County
    • If any DOH PS or staff (DSP, Job Coach, LPN) tests positive then all visits are suspended (all homes) until the quarantine period is over, regardless of the numbers for Washington County

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