June 25, 2020 Update:
A Message to Families, People Supported, and AHRC New York City Staff
Family Visitation at AHRC New York City Certified Residences
Phase 1 Policies and Procedures as of June 25th, 2020
AHRC New York City will begin to allow visits at our homes, effective Saturday, June 27th, 2020, following specific guidelines as mandated by the Office for People with Development Disabilities (OPWDD). To ensure that we continue to minimize the spread of COVID-19, family members and advocates allowed to visit at this time must adhere to the visitation guidelines in OPWDD certified residences. These guidelines are for in-home visitation only; OPWDD is not permitting people we support to leave certified residences for community outings or off-site visits with family outside the supervision of residential staff.
AHRC New York City has consistently adhered to the guidance of OPWDD, the New York City and New York State Departments of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control. All precautions were put in place to protect the health and safety of the people we support and our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue to mitigate the risk of viral transmission, family visitation in certified residences will be phased in over the next four weeks, depending on the continued reduction in the incidence of COVID-19.
Will include outdoor visits with people who are able to understand and comply with social distancing, with or without staff support.
Will include visitations inside homes for people supported who are able to understand and comply with social distancing with staff supports, and who do not have any medical conditions that place them at a greater risk of contracting or experiencing complications from COVID-19.
Phase 1 will begin on June 27th, 2020. Phase 2 will begin on July 11th, 2020. Phases 1 and 2 are subject to change based upon monitoring of COVID-19 exposure within AHRC New York City and within the five boroughs of New York City. This policy will also be adjusted based upon any change in requirements imposed by OPWDD.
Visitation during Phase 1 will follow the protocols below. Policies and protocols for Phase 2 are forthcoming and depend on the successful implementation of Phase 1.
Please note that no visitation will be permitted in residences under quarantine for COVID-19
PRIOR TO THE VISIT
- Family members or advocates are required to contact the Manager or Assistant Manager of the residence at least 24-hours in advance to schedule a day/time to visit. This is required to ensure that multiple visitors are not scheduled on the same day/time and to allow for cleaning and sanitization of visitor areas.
- A maximum of two visitors from the same family may visit at one time. Visitors must be 18 years of age r older.
- Visitors will be limited to one hourly visit per week to ensure that all families have an opportunity to visit each week. Families may request additional time if the schedule is not filled.
- Outside visits will take place weather permitting and should ideally be planned for days when the weather is expected to be conducive to sitting on porches, decks, or in yards or green spaces.
- All people supported and visitors will be required to wear masks and gloves and to maintain social distance of at least 6 feet.
ARRIVING AT THE RESIDENCE
- Arriving visitors should ring the doorbell and will receive a health screening at the doorway. The residence staff will take the visitor’s temperature and complete the required COVID-19 screening questions. Visitor health screening information will be documented in the log used to record the same information for staff.
- If a visitor has a fever or answers “yes” to any of the screening questions, he or she will not be permitted to continue the visit and will be asked to leave the residence. The visitor will not be able to be reconsidered for visitation until he or she is symptom-free for at least 72 hours.
- If a family member or advocate has a pre-existing condition that results in a COVID-like symptom (e.g., consistent cough, sneezing, or sore throat from seasonal allergies), he or she is encouraged to visit a medical provider to obtain a note to indicate he or she is not experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19.
- After the visitor has successfully completed the health screening, he or she will be asked to wait outside until the residence staff can bring the family member outside. All visits during Phase 1 will take place outside the residence in green space, yards, or on porches or decks.
DURING THE VISIT
- Visitors and people supported are required to wear face masks and gloves, provided by AHRC New York City for the duration of the visit. Face masks are required to be worn properly, fully covering the nose and mouth.
- Social distancing of at least 6 feet will be observed throughout the visit. Unfortunately, kissing, hugging, or other physical contact between loved ones is not allowed at this time.
- Visitors will be asked to apply hand sanitizer at the beginning of the visit.
- Food or beverages cannot be consumed during the visit, as eating and drinking require the removal of face masks.
- At the end of the visit, the person supported is required to apply hand sanitizer before re-entering the residence. Upon reentry to the residence the person supported will be encouraged to thoroughly wash their hands and properly dispose of his or her mask and gloves.
- Staff are required to clean and sanitize the meeting area for each visit.