Debbie Brinkley, CEO of Independence Professionals, LLC (IP,LLC), openly admits that “overwhelmed” was the first reaction she and her staff had when learning about the challenges and limitations they would face during the COVID-19 crisis. As an agency that provides in-home and community services for people with intellectual disabilities, both staff and clients rely on in-person interaction and connection.
However, very quickly IP,LLC staff banded together to find ways that they could adapt to continue helping the people they serve. For clients who live alone and lack natural supports that meant continuing face-to-face services with extra precautions. But, for other clients, staff had to be a little more creative.
The solution? Technology.
IP,LLC staff worked remotely to help clients set up technology that would allow them to continue their education uninterrupted or to stay in touch with family and friends. Services like Facebook Messenger, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, YouTube and Zoom became ways that staff could communicate with clients and lead engaging activities that included games, virtual dances and educational classes.
Staff even used technology to help a client who gave birth during the crisis.
“The hospitals weren’t allowing guests, so we had to find ways to support her from a distance. During her appointments, we would use FaceTime to help with communication and understanding between our client and the doctor. With technology, we were able to support her through the whole parenting journey,” Debbie said.
Overall, Debbie is most proud of how quickly her staff has adjusted to changing times.
“IP,LCC employees are very adaptable and have learned how to meet client needs in ways that they never would have thought possible prior to the pandemic,” said Debbie. “Finding ways to deliver services remotely has been a godsend for our individuals and their families.”
Staff and clients of IP,LLC have created a video to showcase their strength and resilience during the COVID-19 crisis. View the video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuXUi7WPJeQ.