May 14, 2020
Dear Beacon Hill Village Members,
On May 12, 2020, the Living Well Ending Well Committee hosted a Zoom program, "What the Village Can Do for You A Guided Conversation with Gina Paglucia Morrison, Executive Director and Lisa Borchetta, Member Services Coordinator".
Some of you asked if we could provide our notes from the call.
Below please find a summary of the information that was shared on the call. If you have further questions, please call the office at 617-723-9713.
LWEW Program, What the Village Can do For You. May 12, 2020 3-4pm
Today we want to provide an overview of the variety of services that BHV has offered and is continuing to offer throughout the pandemic (with the exception of grocery trips). Our basic services include: information and referral for a large variety of vetted providers and providers recommended by other members, rides, grocery list services, access to volunteers, etc.
In this session today, we will focus on services offered by the Village in the context of ongoing needs for health and home during the current COVID-19 crisis. We will offer the caveat that information around the virus is a moving target for us all and creates somewhat of an unknown as to what services are available from service providers and in what form, but we will do our best today to tell you what we know to be true as of now.
Our basic message from today’s conversation is that – Member Services is open and available to answer questions and get information for you. Give us a call at the office 617-723-9713, or you can reach Lisa Borchetta at her home office at 508-475-9303. If we don’t know the answer we will do some research to find the best available options.
Let’s start with a few scenarios:
Scenario 1: Health needs not related to COVID-19
You have fallen, or have recently been in the hospital for an operation or illness, you have just returned from rehab, or you have been sick - in all cases you need some level of care at home. Give us a call.
Staff will inquire about your needs, what you are looking for, how long do you need it (how many days per week/hours per day), etc. - it could include: personal care, home making, food prep, house cleaning, groceries, errands, a ride, picking up mail, leaving trash on the curb, etc.
Perhaps you need personal care or homemaking help - we will make calls to our providers to see who is available, provide you with contact information, and costs where available. As usual, the relationship is between you and the provider. You make the arrangements and the decision on whether to move forward or not.
If it is for a ride or grocery services – we will reach out to our dedicated drivers/shoppers and see who is available. It is possible we may reach out to volunteers for groceries or to pick up a RX or to do an errand.
We will do our best to inquire about our providers’ health/virus related protocol and how they are keeping themselves and you safe.
Caveat- we cannot guarantee a risk-free environment when you invite someone in your home, but you and the provider can enhance your safety by wearing mask and gloves when reasonable and possible.
Scenario 2: May have the COVID-19 virus or have tested positive
Your situation #1:
You are feeling sick, have some of the symptoms related to the COVID-19 virus (cough, fever, etc.) and are concerned that you may have the virus. The first thing you need to do is call your primary care physician, and they will determine next steps in terms of whether you need to be tested or not, and how to take care of yourself at home or if you need to go to the hospital. Do not call the Village first.
If you need to be tested, your PCP will be able to provide options for either transportation to a testing facility, or let you know if it is possible to be tested at home. In order to be tested, you need a referral from your doctor. We have some information from MGH regarding testing and transportation if you are a Senior Health patient. If you are a patient of other hospitals, give us a call and we will inquire what is possible after you have spoken with your doctor.
Your situation #2:
If you have been tested and have the COVID-19 virus but do not need to go to the hospital – give us a call, and please disclose your situation.
Based on what you need: home health, personal care, home making, etc. – we can make calls on your behalf to senior service agencies such as Boston Senior Home Care, or to private agencies such as Bayada or Privatus. We may go directly to these agencies, as it is possible that our private, independent care providers may not choose to help. Agencies can offer more trained help, with more PPE; however, private agencies can be very expensive. Private agencies often provide hazard pay for their caregivers thereby raising the per hour fee, and they often require a higher amount of minimum time to become a new client.
Caveat- private aides or aides at agencies are ‘gig’ workers and may be working in private homes as well as nursing homes or assisted living where the risk for the virus may be greater - you can ask about where they are or have been working, and make your decision from there. In calls to our independent health care providers, Lisa found one provider who clarified that she was not working at high risk facilities or residences or near people with high levels of exposure to the virus. These are good questions to ask of any provider you are considering bringing into your home.
If you need groceries, errands, or RX pick up- we can arrange for contact-less deliveries with our providers or volunteers – give us a call. Or we can help connect you to other service providers.
In all cases we ask you to wear a mask and gloves – if reasonable and possible - when people come in to help you.
Scenario 3: Need home repair, maintenance, cleaning, etc.
You have a need for someone to clean your home, do a repair, etc. If you are sick, or have tested positive – perhaps hold off on any home needs unless it is an emergency (i.e., broken stove, fridge, washing machine).
Otherwise, if you are healthy, we will call our providers and see who is available. We will pass along contact information, usually a few providers, and you can speak to them directly to arrange for an appointment. As we have said before, we cannot guarantee a risk-free situation – however, you can confirm with the provider that they have a protocol to keep them and you safe, they wear PPE, etc. You will want to clean and wipe surfaces they may have touched (handles, door knobs, etc.) after they have completed a service call.
Here is a helpful article from Consumer Reports on having a home maintenance service provider come to your home [https://www.consumerreports.org/home-maintenance-repairs/how-to-handle-a-home-service-call-during-coronavirus-pandemic/], as well as another article related to the virus and risk that remains on surfaces. [https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-long-will-coronavirus-survive-on-surfaces/.
Some of you have expressed interest in sharing essential items during the pandemic:
If you have items to share or need items that may be in rare supply (i.e., flour, yeast, toilet paper or other paper goods) – sending a note to the BHV Listserv is a great place to start. It is an internal email list, only for BHV members that have signed up. Listserv has been used successfully by other members for offering tickets to an event they cannot attend, or finding a good home for plants while they are away, or looking for a recommendation for a specialized physician.
Please call Jen Spring in the office to find out if you are already on the Listserv, or how to get signed up and instructions on how to use it. 617-723-9713.