Since the first international reports of the COVID-19 outbreak, most of us could not have foreseen the devastating impact on our country. We are all faced with major challenges, including a way forward to still assist those struggling with a substance abuse disorder.
Treating addiction is considered an essential service, and despite the initial announcement that no voluntary admissions will be allowed, notification was sent out reversing that decision granted that the necessary protocol is set in place to ensure everyone’s safety.
What PRC Recovery has been doing before the lockdown?
All groups have been moved to classroom 2 to allow for at least 1m distance between desks.
Circle shares will also allow for distance.
The importance of hygiene was discussed especially coughing and sneezing into the elbow.
Clients will be excused from their activity to wash their hands every hour with soap and water. Unfortunately hand sanitizer contains alcohol which is prohibited on the facility.
All surface areas (dining tables, desks and toilets) are sanitized 3 times a day.
Clients urged to wipe the toilet seats and gym equipment after use.
All food orders and tuck shop orders will be done for 4 weeks in advance to avoid unnecessary traveling.
Staff that are not living on the premises are advised to stay indoors as far as possible after hours and avoid shops and stores.
Each client will have their own water bottle and sharing is strictly prohibited.
All meetings outside the office have been cancelled.
Any new admissions or visitors are subject to a questionnaire and possible testing for fever.
What has been happening since the lockdown?
No visitors allowed (including staff)
All ground staff has been placed on paid leave for lockdown
Counselling staff will be remaining on the premises during lockdown
Only one staff member has received authorisation to travel for purchasing of essential items (if needed) or emergencies.
Client will only be able to leave the premises in case of an emergency to seek medical attention.
New admission will only be allowed in extreme cases and subject to partial isolation and additional safety precautions for 2 weeks.
No discharges will be allowed during lockdown.
Daily medicals will include temperature readings.
Ongoing measures for hygiene and social distancing implemented.
Measurements going forward?
All new admissions will have to be tested for COVID-19. Unfortunately screening alone will not be sufficient to determine possible exposure.
Why isolation is not ideal for new admissions?
Since the lockdown we have noticed that there is still a big potential for transmission even with isolation. Regardless of all the hygiene measurements put in place, the client is already facing major emotional turmoil from withdrawal and isolation increases anxiety. This results in breaking protocol which puts everyone at risk.
Why wearing masks are not considered?
We have noticed that most masks are very uncomfortable to wear for hours at a time as the client struggles to breath. This results in continuous fidgeting with the masks resulting in them touching their faces.
With the current measurements in place, we can ensure that our program continues as per usual with minimal disruption to the environment we try to create for best possible advantage of our clients’ recovery.