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Dawn of Hope COVID-19 Statement

April 17th, 2020

Dear Dawn of Hope Family Members,

I wanted to take a moment to say that I hope everyone is staying safe and enjoying good health wherever you may be during this unprecedented time. It is still a very dangerous time in our country and state, and I believe the next two weeks may be the most critical time we will face during this crisis.

As the COVID-19 wave has grown and community spread peaks, talk about “reopening” the state for business in May has the potential to make people relax and be less careful in their precautions. While optimism is a much needed thing to have at the moment, we cannot assume that the worst is over yet.

That is the position that Dawn of Hope is taking, and we are constantly reminding our incredible DSP’s and LPN’s providing direct care on the front-lines that taking all precautions right now is more important than ever. Our number one priority remains keeping the people we support and the employees supporting them safe and healthy, and we will not relax until this public health crisis has passed.

Our front-line employee’s efforts in keeping the people we support safe and healthy have been aided by many amazing supporters and volunteers who have made and donated masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) over the past few weeks, and they continue to do so. If you want to know who some of them are check out our Facebook page and give them a shout out or a thank you. Their thoughtful donations and gifts have been a true blessing for Dawn of Hope.

In closing I want to say a few words about Dawn of Hope’s employees. At every level of the organization they continue to do their jobs with a spirit and attitude that is a joy to behold. From our administrative and support staff who keep the wheels turning and the bills paid, to our management staff – many of whom are working in the homes side by side with our DSP’s & LPN’s providing direct care – everyone continues to work as a true team as we journey together through this unforeseen moment in time.

But no group or person is more important to Dawn of Hope than our DSP’s and LPN’s who show up every day, ready to do whatever is necessary to care for and support those most important to us. What they do isn’t easy. Some days it isn’t fun. But they keep coming back day after day anyway, because their passion for the work they do and the love they have for the people we support is unlike anything I have ever seen.

If you know a DSP or LPN that works for Dawn of Hope, take a moment to tell them Thank You. One day when it’s safe again, give them a hug. They are true heroes doing important work not many others would do, and they deserve every amount of love and appreciation we can give them.

Until next time, take care of yourselves, stay safe, and know that Dawn of Hope will do everything in our power to continue to take care of the people you love the most.

Steve Cox
Chief Executive Officer
Dawn of Hope, Inc.

Effective March 24th, 2020 the Day Program at Dawn of Hope’s Main Center will be closed until further notice. This was not a decision that was made lightly, however with the increase of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our local area we feel that it is too significant a risk from this point forward despite our best precautions, to keep the day program open.

All Day Program staff are being reassigned to help in our Residential Homes and Job Coaches will pick up any people we support that are still working in integrated employment and transport them from their homes to and from their jobs. Best Practices that conform to all federal, state, and CDC recommended precautions will be ongoing at all times.

Staff have been encouraged to practice caution and adhere to accepted CDC and government protocols and not travel outside of the local area when not at work, and have been advised to report to Agency Management if they exhibit any symptoms of COVID-19, have associated with anyone exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, or answer YES to any of the following questions:

1. Have you recently traveled outside of the local area? If so where?
2. Have you passed through any airports or ports of call in the last 14 days?
3. Have you been anywhere in the U.S. with confirmed cases of COVID-19?
4. Have you had any known exposure to anyone with COVID-19?
5. Have you had any fever or flu-like symptoms over the past 7 days?

We will continue to monitor the situation and keep families and staff posted on any new developments.

March 13, 2020

Dear Parents, Family Members, and Conservators,

I wanted to take a moment to let you know that in addition to our daily mission of providing person-centered supports while helping people pursue the life they desire, we also are continually monitoring public health issues that can impact the people we support.

It is imperative to us that we are prepared to take any necessary and essential steps in order to mitigate risks associated with any public health issue. This includes the recent Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak. Nothing at Dawn of Hope is more important than the safety, health, and well-being of the people we support.

We are closely watching how the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak evolves and have taken important steps to elevate our focus beyond our customary high standards for sanitation, cleaning, and employee/persons supported hygiene in response to COVID-19.

We are working with and taking guidance from state and local health authorities as well as the CDC, to make certain that we are doing everything possible to keep the people we support and our employee’s safe.

  1. Over a week ago we distributed to all Dawn of Hope employees  the CDC’s recommendations for prevention that includes:
    1. Good hand- washing techniques,
    2. The use of hand sanitizer,
    3. Covering coughs and sneezes.
  2. Posters with Good Prevention Tips were sent to each of our Supported Living homes to serve as reminders to staff, these posters were also displayed in our Main Center as well.
  3. All light switches, doorknobs, and handrails are sanitized daily, as are all surfaces in our homes and vehicles.  We have asked our classroom, clinic, and residential staff to perform extra cleaning each day with disinfectant wipes and spray per CDC guidelines.
  4. We have implemented changes to our daily routines at our Main Center and in the Community while the COVID-19 issue continues. Out of an abundance of caution, we are having the people eat lunch in their classrooms instead of the cafeteria, and have limited some community outings per state and local health authorities’ recommendations.
  5. We are in constant communication with TennCare and DIDD to ensure we are getting the support and resources we need to protect the people we support.
  6. We are also working very hard to negotiate changes to current DIDD rules that require people to be in the community daily.  As noted above, we have already taken steps to limit community outings regardless of DIDD and TennCare requirements. It is simply not safe for the vulnerable population we support to spend so much time in the community during this public health crisis.
  7. Update – DIDD and TennCare issued additional guidance late Friday afternoon (March 13, 2020) relaxing provider requirements for Community Participation. This guidance will temporarily allow the people Dawn of Hope supports to forego community-based activities while still maintaining funding. In other words, Dawn of Hope will still be allowed to support people in their homes and/or in our day facility during this crisis. Dawn of Hope will continue to help the people we support and their families or conservators, as applicable, by sharing information about the potential risk of exposure so they can make informed decisions about whether they should participate in community activities during public health crisis.

Above all, we want you to know that we will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving situation on a daily basis, and will remain vigilant and committed to heeding the guidance from public health officials and take every precaution necessary to keep the people we support safe.

Sincerely,

Steve Cox
Chief Executive Office
Dawn of Hope, Inc.

 
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