Apr 15, 2020

Building a community

It started with a simple letter sharing ResCare’s plan for handling the coronavirus pandemic. “I wanted everyone to have a point of reference for what direction we’re going in, what our rules are for visitors and updates on staffing and supplies,” said Tabbie Ross, program manager of waiver services at ResCare. “I tried to get in the mindset of a parent – if it were my child, what do you need to tell me?”

The weekly updates started to get replies and questions, some as simple as how residents would get exercise. Ross began taking the individual concerns and replying to the larger group. “If one person is worried about it, others probably are too,” she said.

Then, many families started reaching out and asking how they could help. Some family members treated all the residents and staff at one group home to pizza. Another brought jellybeans to celebrate Easter. They’ve also sent cards, magazines, and thank you notes to staff.

“This is as hard on the staff as it is on the individuals,” Ross said. “We created a community that we didn’t have before, spread over 17 sites. Now everyone is responding to thoughts and ideas, which feels like what we should be doing—talking to people and building trust from within.”

ResCare staff are also trying to keep some sense of normalcy for the residents by scheduling a day where everyone can get out of the house, whether it’s to ride through the park or go pick up carryout food.
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