The concept of providing services outside the home for our clients has been changing for many years. LIFEDesigns has worked to remain in the forefront of these changes, and we continue to make changes in order to support our mission to partner with and promote independence for people with disabilities. The first phase of change began when LECO changed to Community Integration Services (CIS) shortly before the impact of COVID-19 was known. The second phase was to continue moving toward more individualized community activities with clients. Once the extent of the pandemic was known, the CIS program was suspended and CIS staff went to work in residential settings.
It has now been five months since CIS was suspended, and there is no end of the danger from COVID-19 in sight. Some facility-based day programs have reopened by invitation only. But our programs have not been facility-based and moving to such a program would be not only a step backwards but a move toward programming that does not help clients become active and involved members of their community. As a result we have made the difficult decision to discontinue offering scheduled day services. We will work with clients, guardians, and service teams to find ways to give clients time out of the home in a safe manner which likely means one staff member with one client in most cases. Moving to this model will take time since for many clients it will involve changes in their PC-ISP as well as budgets. Our Services staff will work closely with teams to promote this individualized service that truly helps clients explore their likes, expand their interests, and increase their community engagement and quality of life.