Update About Services
This is an unprecedented time in our history. In an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus we will be implementing a protocol to protect Allegan & Ottawa Counties, our volunteers, and employees of the Disability Network Lakeshore.
Although staff is under the Stay At Home Order, please be aware you can still call DNL for services. Please leave a message on our voice mail and we will have the appropriate staff member call you back. For your information the number we will call you from might show “private”, “anonymous” or “No Caller ID”.
We will still be providing services to customers and community members via:
Face-to-Face Services Suspended
As of March 17, 2020, we will be suspending face-to-face services with customers, including closing our office to walk-ins until Monday, April 6, 2020. We will still be providing services to customers and community members via:
Todd’s Farewell Open House: Due to the recent outbreak of the coronavirus we have postponed Todd’s Farewell Open House. Thank you for understanding.
Pars For a Purpose: Due to the coronavirus we have cancelled our summer fundraising event, Pars For A Purpose. Check back soon for it’s replacement. Thank you for understanding.
Emergency Preparedness Plan
COVID-19 might be here for an extended period of time. Get informed, identify your resources, make a plan, and create a Ready Kit. Download our Emergency Preparedness Plan Worksheet.
There is a lot of information available about preventing and responding to the virus. Follow instructions given by authorities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are the experts; listen to them!
Make a plan: how might this virus affect you?
A pandemic is a different kind of disaster situation. It’s not something that strikes, lasts for a few minutes, and then is over. It may takes weeks to months before the virus peaks and begins to slow down. Do you have supplies to remain at home for the next several weeks? What if you need to stay home even longer? Think of the items you use on a daily basis. Do you have enough to get by?
Create a support network of people you can plan on for help. Make a list of their names and contact information.
Arrange for transportation should you need to go to Urgent Care, E.R. or the hospital. Who can you call on for help? Remember, the people you normally call on may be sick too, so have several options available.
If you are dependent on dialysis or other life-sustaining treatment, know the location and availability of more than one facility. Plan for how you’ll be transported if the local bus service is down, or your usual transporter is sick and unavailable.
If you have special medical needs, wear a medical alert tag or an I.D. bracelet. Otherwise, consider making out a card with the appropriate information to carry on you at all times.
If you have a communication disability, how will people communicate with you?
What will you do if your equipment is not working? Consider using laminated cards with phrases, or pictograms.
If you believe you are sick with coronavirus, stay home! Restrict activities outside the home, except for getting medical care. Before seeking medical care, call your healthcare provider and tell them you have, or are being evaluated for, Covid-19. Put on a face mask before you enter a facility.
Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis. Try to stay in a specific room, away from other people in your home, and when possible, use a separate bathroom. Restrict contact with pets and other animals. Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
High touch surfaces should be wiped down every day. Also clean any surfaces that may have blood or other body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to label instructions.
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch person that you have or are being evaluated for Covid-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.
If your loved one is a resident in a nursing facility, call and ask what their emergency plan is.
What To Do If You Get Coronavirus
Coronavirus is an infection of the lower respiratory tract; it usually results in pain in the lungs rather than the head. As the number of people contracting the Coronavirus in the U.S. climbs, having a plan for how we’ll respond can help bring peace of mind.
First, know the signs. The most common symptoms are:
- Cough- it may be a dry cough or coughing up sputum or thick phlegm
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
In addition, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Bone or joint pain
- Sore throat
- Nausea or vomiting
- Stuffy nose
Symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after being exposed, with the average onset at 5 days from exposure. Most people who contract the Coronavirus have mild to moderate symptoms.
You will need to self-monitor for these signs, and if you find you are experiencing them, put your plan into effect.
Who could you call on for help if you do get the virus? Make a list of the family members, caregivers, and friends you can call on to help you if you get sick. Have their contact information listed too so you can connect with them easily. Let them know if you are exhibiting signs so they can follow up and check in with your periodically to make sure you’re okay. They should have a key to your house and know where your Advanced Directives for Medical Care are kept.
Think about the point when would you want to see your doctor if you have more than a mild case. If you have a history of lung problems, you’ll especially want to list the point at which you’ll want medical intervention. For example, if you find yourself become short of breath, it’s time to call the professionals.
If you require special procedures on a regular basis such as dialysis, or blood pressure checks, etc., do you have a plan for where you’ll go, how you’ll get there, and what additional things you might need if you are unable to go to your usually site? Check on alternative sites you can go to if necessary, and know the routes ahead of time.
If you use a service animal, do you have extra food to get by? Keeping at least a week of extra food on hand is recommended; in this situation at least 2 weeks might be a better idea.
Keep a card with emergency contact information on you at all times. Have your support network listed, as well as medical conditions, medications you take along with dosage and frequency for administering them, and insurance information listed.
Preparing For The Coronavirus
Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been found in the United States and is being carefully monitored. There are predictions that the number of people who will contract the disease could be as high as 80%. While we don’t need to panic, we do need to check on our emergency preparedness plans to ensure we are ready to respond to this threat.
Talk with the people who need to be included in your emergency preparedness plan. Consider each of your family members and what their special needs might be.
Plan ways to care for those who might be at greater risk for serious complications. Older adults and people with underlying chronic medical conditions may be at greater risk for more serious complications from the virus.
Get to know your neighbors. Talk with your neighbors about emergency planning. If your neighborhood has a website or social media page, consider joining it to maintain access to neighbors, information, and resources.
Know your resources. Create a list of local organizations that you can contact if you need information, health care services, support, and/or resources. Consider including organizations that provide mental health or counseling services, food, and other supplies.
Create an emergency contact list. Make a list of emergency contacts for family, friends, and neighbors, people who can help with transportation, health care providers, teachers, employers, the local public health department, and other community resources.
Practice everyday preventive actions now. Everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory illnesses:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily (e.g., tables, countertops, light switches, doorknobs, and cabinet handles) using a regular household detergent and water.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
People who are mildly ill with COVID-19 should isolate themselves at home during their illness. Restrict activities outside the home, except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis. Try to stay in a specific room, away from other people in your home, and when possible use a separate bathroom.
Restrict contact with pets and other animals too. Although there have not been reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19, it is still recommended that you limit contact with animals until more information is known about the virus. Ask another member of your household to care for your animals while you are sick. If you must care for your pet or be around animals while you are sick, wash your hands before and after you interact with pets and wear a face mask.
Do not share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets, and bedside tables should be wiped down every day. Also, clean any surfaces that may have blood, stool, or body fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe, according to the label instructions.
Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening. Before seeking care, call your healthcare provider and tell them that you have, or are being evaluated for, COVID-19. Put on a face mask before you enter the facility.
If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.
Coping With Coronavirus
Most of us are feeling somewhat stressed by the current Coronavirus pandemic. All the information flying around can be overwhelming, and if you have any kind of anxiety disorder to start with, it can leave you reeling. If you are older, if you have an immune system that is somewhat compromised, or if you are experiencing a cough, fever, or shortness of breath, your stress levels may already be off the charts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there are some things you can do to help reduce the stress you are feeling.
If you have a preexisting mental health condition, please continue your treatment plan and be aware of new symptoms or those that seem to be getting worse.
Suggestions to help you cope include:
- Don’t immerse yourself in the news about Coronavirus. There is so much media response to the pandemic that it’s hard to get away from it if you turn on the television or computer.
- Take care of yourself. Use relaxation exercises; eat healthy, well-balanced meals; get enough exercise, and get plenty of sleep to stay healthy.
- Avoid using drugs and alcohol to cope.
- Take the time you need to relax and unwind. Play games or do other activities you enjoy.
- Talk to your healthcare provider if you find your stress getting in the way of your daily activities.
- Connect with others. It can be helpful to share your concerns and talk about how you are feeling with friends or family.
- Stay informed. It’s okay to listen to the news or visit a website that presents factual information or updates; just don’t have it on 24 hours a day.
- Seek help if you need it. If your stress levels seem unmanageable or go on for several days or weeks, talk to your counselor, a clergy member, or your healthcare provider.
Common signs of distress:
- Feelings of numbness, disbelief, anxiety or fear
- Changes in appetite, energy, and activity levels
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty sleeping or nightmares and upsetting thoughts and images
- Physical reactions, such as headaches, body pains, stomach problems, and skin rashes
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Anger or short-temper
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
If you experience these feelings or behaviors for several days in a row and are unable to carry out normal responsibilities because of them, contact your counselor or healthcare provider.
Spectrum Health Resources
Free virtual screenings: Spectrum Health is offering free virtual screenings for COVID-19 to those in Michigan who have symptoms and may be concerned they have the virus. Callers to the hotline (616.391.2380) will be scheduled for a virtual video visit and assisted with downloading the Spectrum Health Now app. During the virtual video visit, individuals will be asked a series of questions about their condition by a Spectrum Health provider who will advise whether they need to seek additional care.
Community Information and Resources: Spectrum Health has posted downloadable materials, travel tips, videos and other information on their website to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Community members, churches, schools, businesses and others are encouraged to visit www.spectrumhealth.org/covid19 to access the resources.
Our World still has barriers for people with disabilities.
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The right resources are hard to find. We get it.
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