March 15, 2020
Dear Clients, Family & Friends:
Bridging the Gaps has taken significant steps to maintain
the integrity of our continuum of treatment services while appropriately and
expeditiously responding to the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As a provider of treatment services across a
variety of levels of care, we face the risk of dramatic impacts associated with
the pandemic. This is a fluid and
dynamic situation with new information and guidance being released daily, if
not hourly, making it challenging to gather accurate information and respond
accordingly. We are vigilantly committed
to helping public health leaders contain this pandemic while simultaneously
ensuring the highest level of care for our clients.
- To keep our clients and employees safe and informed, and to avoid unnecessary panic;
- To treat all clients and employees with fairness and consistency;
- To understand the impact of a pandemic on our clients, staff, and business; and
- To develop, implement and modify plans to ensure the health and safety of our clients and staff as best we are able to in response to each level of the pandemic
BTG’s overarching objective is for our clients and staff to
remain infection free. To achieve this objective, programmatic changes are
being made that significantly alter the clients’ treatment experience. Within the residential environment,
restrictions on movement and visitation are necessary to ensure community
safety and health. Containment will be more
difficult for IOP and outpatient groups than for our staff and residential
clients. Outpatients and IOP folks are
“out and about” – escalating the risk associated with “entry and re-entry” to
the facilities. We need to recognize
that these groups are more likely to come in contact with people in the
community that are carrying the coronavirus.
For clients and staff, we already understand and are working hard to
practice basic handwashing and facility sanitizing, and we’ve heard (and will
continue to hear) about personal responsibility that require us to be fully
transparent regarding any actual or potential exposure to COVID-19. The protocols we list below are based on the
premise that we need to keep all four of our facilities infection free so that
the important work we do for our clients can continue uninterrupted.
Highlights of our Response
At this point in time, no
confirmed cases have been identified within the Winchester area; however, Northern Virginia, including
nearby Loudoun County, is reporting increasing numbers of cases daily. Therefore, we are taking a conservative
approach in implementing our Infection Prevention and Control Plan:
- BTG’s Leadership and Performance Improvement Teams continue to lead our monitoring, planning, decision-making and communication.
- Our Prevention Plan encompasses a number of precautions including:
- Checking all clients, staff, and visitors daily for fever—the most common symptoms of COVID-19
- Screening all persons entering any of our facilities for respiratory symptoms, travel to locations known to have a high incidence of confirmed cases, and exposure to someone with a known case of COVID-19
- Continuing to ensure the highest level of infection prevention and control, sanitation and hygiene
- Responding quickly to any emerging situation
- We have temporarily leased an off-site space for conducting outpatient services including our IOP program and individual sessions for non-residential clients. This step allows us to ensure that we are proactively limiting the degree of “entry-re-entry” into the clinical offices at Braddock Street. The integrity and high quality of programming for all levels of care remain an imperative.
- We have temporarily eliminated all off site activities for our residential clients including community AA/NA meetings, gym attendance, and community outings that might represent a risk of infection. These steps are designed to ensure all efforts at preventing contamination of the community and its population. As an alternative, we are live-streaming AA/NA meetings for our clients on a daily basis and encouraging additional contacts by telephone with sponsors and sober network. We will continue to solicit feedback from our clients to ensure access to quality 12 Step content. We have also developed alternative programming to deliver healthy and enjoyable activities to replace the scheduled gym time with an emphasis on continued physical exercise utilizing outdoor resources.
- We have temporarily eliminated all visitations for family and friends of our existing residential clients. Again, these steps have been taken to ensure against inadvertent exposure to asymptomatic or exposed individuals. We are allowing our residential clients to have access to their personal phones for scheduled periods of time to enable FaceTime or video chat with family and friends.
- Family conjoint sessions will be arranged using videoconferencing capabilities to ensure continued therapeutic progress within the family system.
- We continue to modify our policies, procedures and protocols to reflect up-to-date information from federal, state and local public health authorities. As information evolves, we are positioning ourselves to optimize our response to any outbreak in the immediate area. For example, if local testing is established, we will have vastly improved capability for detecting and proactively addressing the risk. At this time, we will continue to closely monitor the community and anyone with any symptoms shall be sequestered from the community, tested as quickly as possible and if positive, rapidly referred to local resources for appropriate medical assistance.
- We are diligently staying abreast of all information and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and state and local public health authorities.
We will continue to monitor and respond to this pandemic as
it rapidly evolves, taking every step to protect our clients, staff, families
and friends. At the same time, it is difficult to predict when these
restrictions can be lifted. It is likely
that restrictions will remain in place until we receive information from
federal, state and local public health authorities that precautions are no
longer necessary. We are committed to
maintaining prompt communication with clients, families and friends as the
situation continues to evolve.
Please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned if you
have any questions or concerns,
Pam Reiman, JD, LCSW, CAADC, CSAC