An Update on Operations:
Our Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Despite the uncertainty and challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff at CarePlus have not only risen to the occasion, but have also surpassed expectations of what would be possible. With a quick pivot to adhere to public health recommendations and safety precautions, we were able to continue to provide services remotely, as well as continuing on-site medication support, emergency services, 24/7 programs, residential services and outreach services in the community.
In order to achieve all of this, many of our teams were trained with new technology and software to leverage our telehealth and remote services. This transformation of workflow included an emphasis on administrative support, for enhanced customer service and experience. It’s important to honor our frontline workers who have provided essential services throughout the pandemic.
How We are Maintaining Safety for In-Person Services
After months of limited on-site operations, we extended back to our original hours of operation to accommodate programs that require face-to-face interactions, but we continue to adhere to state guidelines. This includes limited participation within our Partial Care Program and Intensive Outpatient Program. Our staff has maintained connection with participants in these programs, but we have noticed barriers to telehealth service delivery. This includes limited access to technology and internet, as well as obstacles to privacy practices in the home or community.
Procedures were put in place to prepare for this increase in on-site operations: temperature and symptom check, staff and visitor sign in, restricted entrances, adhering to social distancing protocols, increased sanitation services, and provision of necessary personal protective equipment.
Innovative Programs Developed to Respond to Community Needs
The pandemic struck as CarePlus was developing multiple grant funded programs, including the CCBHC expansion of mental health and addiction services, community training programs, and supported employment services. As part of the CARES Act, we received funding for innovative programs designed to increase and ease access to care, especially for vulnerable and at-risk communities. This positioned our teams to not only respond to the needs of individuals and families, but also provide specialty support for school professionals, law enforcement, and healthcare professionals.
A variety of CarePlus programs demonstrated their necessity throughout the pandemic:
- The development of the HERO Warmline created a streamlined access to mental health care for frontline workers.
- A partnership with Inserra Supermarkets placed our staff in grocery stores to support employees in the thick of the pandemic.
- Grief and Bereavement groups evolved to address specific COVID-related grief.
- Our Work Incentive Services quickly noted racial and ethnic disparities in the impact of the pandemic, and provided essential support for those facing unemployment.
- The launch of the Maternal & Family Center has opened the door for families in all stages of pregnancy to access much needed support and expertise.
With a technology grant from the Federal Communications Commission, we have also been able to address a major social determinant to health – the fact that socioeconomic status can act as a barrier to care. With the technology grant, we have been able to distribute devices throughout the community to provide the tools needed for telehealth support, while also investing in resources to enhance the technology infrastructure.
CarePlus NJ, INC. is dedicated to excellence in mental healthcare and has a commitment to life-long support needed by individuals and their families to ensure that they achieve their full potential and improve the quality of their lives.