By Christine Zanca, Residential Program Manager, Search Inc.
As it became evident that the state would enact a shelter in place order, Search began brainstorming ways to keep people safe. How can we limit COVID exposure for both staff and individuals served? When Search proposed a live-in model, we did not expect too many staff would be interested. We were essentially asking people to move into a group home 24/7 for 4-6 weeks. Who would be this selfless?
To our surprise, more then 75 Search staff took us up on the offer.
Two staff moved into each home working 16 hour shifts and never leaving the house. Not even to grocery shop. And to our amazement, we were able to provide this level of care at 27 of our 29 homes. The first house transitioned to this model on March 25th, and the incredible staff are still there. They are primary care givers wearing many hats (and PPE). They cook, clean, teach, council, and entertain all day, every day. Due to their commitment, COVID cases were kept to a minimum agency wide. These staff are sacrificing time with their families, missing the births and deaths of loved ones, celebrating holidays and birthdays with only their Search family, and getting very little sleep.
It’s hard to express the impact that the live-in staff have on the individuals Search serves. We know how fortunate we are to employee such a dedicate team, and they are the true definition of #SearchSTRONG.
Hear from two of our DSPs here!