Surrey Association for Community Living pivots in order to continue to provide care

Staff and clients at the Surrey Association for Community Living pause for a photo April 23. COVID-19 has forced the association to rethink the way it operates in order to continue to provide care for the individuals its serves. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Staff and clients at the Surrey Association for Community Living pause for a photo April 23. COVID-19 has forced the association to rethink the way it operates in order to continue to provide care for the individuals its serves. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Staff and clients at the Surrey Association for Community Living prepare to deliver the “Cloverdale Reporter” April 23. COVID-19 has forced the association to rethink the way it operates in order to continue to provide care for the individuals its serves. (Photo: Malin Jordan)Staff and clients at the Surrey Association for Community Living prepare to deliver the “Cloverdale Reporter” April 23. COVID-19 has forced the association to rethink the way it operates in order to continue to provide care for the individuals its serves. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

Like everyone affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the Surrey Association for Community Living has had to pivot in order to continue to provide care for its clients.

Designated as essential service workers by the government, SACL, a non-profit organization, provides support services for more than 450 children and adults with developmental disabilities.

“I feel the essential service workers in the field of community living have been forgotten,” said executive director Coreen Windbiel. “I want the staff to know how much they are appreciated during this time. They do not wear uniforms or identification badges as we have spent years trying to include individuals with disabilities into the community by being their invisible support.”

To keep up with their support services, SACL has had to change the way they operate during the COVID pandemic.

“We have had to completely redesign our services to safely support individuals, families’ caregivers, and staff in a very short time,” explained Windbiel. “The staff, caregivers, and families are adjusting and they have done amazing.”

By redesign, Windbiel means to shut down their normal programs and adjust how their staff operates. Now a majority of their outreach consists of supporting the clients’ own families. Windbiel said staff have stayed in touch with everyone through Zoom, including playing bingo on Zoom. They also went around and dropped off Easter treats to every individual they support.

SEE ALSO: Surrey Association for Community Living celebrates 60 years

SEE ALSO: Cloverdale’s ‘ambassador’ had a passion for his town that never tired

And SACL has not been untouched by the tentacles of the coronavirus. They have had one case of COVID-19 at one of their home-share providers.

Windbiel said SACL is remotely supporting individuals, families, and caregivers in many ways.

“We all work together and support each other on a daily basis and that has made us a strong, talented, smart, resourceful, dedicated team,” she said. “I am so impressed with the ideas that flow from each and everyone of our staff. Team SACL has taken each individual and tailored a plan for them according to their needs.”

Windbiel said they didn’t plan to close down any of their programs. They had originally planned to limit the numbers of people that could access their programs in order to adhere to social-distancing guidelines, but that idea was nixed when they realized many individuals had already chosen not to come at all until the pandemic was over.

Now managers and supervisors are connecting with families on a weekly basis. “Individual plans are being made for those who want support. Originally it consisted of a combination of working at the individual’s home and walks in the community, keeping social distance.” Windbiel said that plan had to be rethought very quickly because some individuals SACL supports have compromised immune systems.

“We did not want to increase their risk by having staff coming in and out of the home,” she noted. “We have found creative ways to support families to ensure everyone stays safe, including staff and the individuals we support.”

Windbiel said SACL was open for the first few weeks of the pandemic but, with every update, they were continually recalculating their approach.

SEE ALSO: Reno’d home a perfect fit for Surrey Association for Community Living

“Soon we cancelled HandyDART, so individuals weren’t coming in on public transit. By week three none of the individuals were attending the program site for day programs.”

Until the pandemic is over, Windbiel said she’ll have a full-time health and safety officer to ensure SACL maintains the highest standards of safety for everyone.

“We have had to gather all our PPE ourselves. We have staff that have stepped up and made masks and hospital gowns. By the end of April, we will have had over 200 masks made by our staff.”

Windbiel said they now have a PPE room where staff can get hazmat suits, N95 masks, shields, hand sanitizer, and gowns.

She added that SACL has three group homes with staff that are dedicated to ensuring the individuals that live there stay safe and healthy.

“They are supported on a 24-hour basis, as they are in Home Share. The staff working in these homes have known the individual for many years and will do everything they can to ensure they stay safe and healthy. It has been hard for both, as our individuals do not always understand why they cannot go out to enjoy their daily activities.”

Windbiel said she’s very thankful for the dedication her staff has shown.

“They truly are amazing.”



editor@cloverdalereporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CloverdaleCommunityCoronavirusdisabilitiesSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Tyler Tardi will serve as a fifth on Team Laycock at the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier. (Black Press Media file photo)
Tyler Tardi to serve as alternate for B.C. team at Brier

Langley/Cloverdale curler to serve as ‘fifth’ on Team Laycock at Calgary-hosted championships

Surrey RCMP say that after checking on a “semi-conscious” driver in Whalley on Jan. 20, 2021, officers found about 21 grams of suspected cocaine, 68 grams of suspected fentanyl, about $1,400 in case, a stolen shotgun and ammunition. (Photo: Surrey RCMP handout)
Surrey RCMP say ‘semi-conscious’ driver found with drugs, gun

Officer saw ‘open alcohol and suspected drugs’ inside the vehicle, police say

Sources White Rock/South Surrey Food Bank is located at 2356 156 St. (File photo)
Door-to-door canvassers not working on behalf of Sources Food Bank, says manager

Accredited White Rock, South Surrey, Langley food bank does not canvas for donations

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Police in Vancouver looking for male suspect who allegedly spat and attacked a store manager for not wearing a mask, at 7-Eleven near Alma Street and West 10th Avenue just before noon on Dec. 17, 2020. (Vancouver police handout)
VIDEO: Man spits on 7-Eleven manager over mask rule, sparking Vancouver police probe

‘Unfortunately, the store manager sustained a cut to his head during the assault’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Vancouver-based SAR team successfully rescued two lost snowshoers off of the west side of Tim Jones Peak in the early morning of Monday, Jan. 19. (North Shore Rescue photo)
B.C.’s busiest SAR team raises alarm after 2021 begins with fatality, multiple rescues

‘People beyond ski resort areas of Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress go without cell reception,’ SAR warns

Competitors make their way through the course at the 2019 Canadian Cross Country Championships, which was hosted by Abbotsford in 2019. (File photo)
Abbotsford to host 2023 Canadian Cross Country Championships

Clearbrook Park last hosted the event in 2019, Ottawa hosting 2021 and 2022 races

Officers investigate the scene after a pedestrian was struck and killed on Friday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Male pedestrian, 37, killed in Abbotsford after being struck by vehicle

Collision took place in 31800 block of South Fraser Way on Friday morning

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission school district

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways in Mission, B.C.

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Most Read