Making an Impact – Client Unaware of COVID-19 Danger

Client Unaware of COVID-19 Danger

In the Making an Impact series, clients and services are featured to expand awareness of the wide array of help available at JFS and to ensure donors understand the lives they touch and the difference they make throughout the community. Client names have been changed to protect their confidentiality.

All (nearly 30) of the JFS social workers who provide care coordination are contractually required to assess their clients initially, followed by a minimum of one annual follow up. Many clients require more contact, while others require only the minimum contact.

During these assessments, many factors are reviewed including physical appearance, cognitive ability, emotional state and the overall health and well-being of the client in the home and community. Is the client eating? Are they taking their medication? Can they get up and down from a sitting or lying position? Can they ambulate safely?

Many clients are blessed with family and friends who either live with them or visit regularly. However, some have no one. In these cases, the care coordinators assessments and visits become even more important.

With the spread of COVID-19, it has become necessary to eliminate in-person contact. Care coordinators continue to assess the needs of their clients via telephone. One of our clients, an elderly Somali gentleman who has been with us for several years, lives alone but has a daughter nearby who visits with him frequently. It was time for his annual assessment.

We have services set up for him that include home delivered meals, homemaking help, personal care assistance and adult day care. He has several health issues that include memory deficits related to a bad accident he suffered in Somalia, making oversight and support crucial for his well-being.

His daughter was with him during the phone assessment. As the assessment began, it quickly became clear to the care coordinator that they did not realize the seriousness of COVID-19. The coordinator reviewed the need to avoid crowds and stay home, keep food on hand, watch for symptoms and what to do should any appear. They had no idea. The client does not speak English. Although his daughter does, she doesn’t watch the news or participate with any social media. They were grateful for the information about the virus and how to best manage their lives during this crisis.