Today, I wanted to provide an update on how we continue to address the needs of our clients and the safety of our staff, as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic. The care of our clients and the safety of our staff have always been our top priority at Gaudenzia. Since March, our team of dedicated professionals has worked tirelessly to develop and implement extensive control and mitigation plans to protect our residential and outpatient clients.
These plans have enabled Gaudenzia, Inc. to continue our delivery of low-barrier, life-saving treatment without compromising the health and safety of our clients and staff. I am immensely pleased and gratified for the actions of our 980 staff members across our 91 facilities, as they balanced the needs of our clients with their own personal commitments. I’m also grateful to our clients for having the courage to step forward in these difficult times and seek the help they need and deserve.
In this note, I wanted to explain the steps we have taken and underline our ongoing commitment to serve those in our communities that need our help.
Starting March 16, Gaudenzia began screening staff, new admissions and existing clients via a COVID-19 symptom checker. Staff and clients are screened daily, and potential clients are screened as part of the admissions process. The screening is consistent with the guidance for behavioral health residential facilities as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Gaudenzia also adopted a stringent mandatory mask and social distancing policy in our residential and outpatient programs, with masks provided to all clients and staff at no charge. To protect clients and staff, we shifted our treatment programs to telehealth as the first treatment option, with in-person group sessions offered for those who were needing more intensive therapy. For all in-person sessions, we continue to strictly enforce the requirements on the size of our group sessions to no more than 12 people.
Our detailed policies and procedures are outlined in the attached document. To ensure that these procedures are in force, senior staff make unannounced visits to our facilities, and I’m also asking that employees alert their supervisors, or me personally, if they see any inadvertent deviation from our policies.
For those who are familiar with our mission and understand how we carry it out each day, I suspect the steps we’ve taken won’t be a surprise. But I felt it was important to update you about what we’re doing to ensure our clients get the best possible care during the pandemic and to make clear that our commitment to protecting them and our staff will remain strong as we head into the fall.
As you know, our work is more critical than ever. While so much of the world focuses on the pandemic, we know first-hand that the other health crisis – the one involving addiction to opioids and other drugs – is worsening. Since the pandemic began, we have admitted and treated approximately 8,082 people. With your support, we will continue to battle this on the front lines and do all that we can to improve the lives of the people in our communities who need it most.
Dr. Dale Klatzker