Dear Search Team, Family Members, Guardians, and Stakeholders:

This Saturday will mark the 45th day of shelter-at-home for our residents and their support staff. It’s amazing to think of how drastically life has changed here in Illinois, and across the country. All of us have been impacted in some way by this virus. And all of us have been called to action whether it’s been to stay at home or to go out and work to serve others. Here at Search, we’ve been called to show up to work and support our residents and each other. In these challenging times, I couldn’t imagine a better group of people to be working with than the Search team.

Thank you.

Agency Wide Update

All things considered, this has been a good week. As of April 17, Search has not experienced a new exposure incident since April 4th . Search has had six staff and five residents test positive for COVID-19 for a total of eleven cases, affecting three CILA homes. Daily health screens remain in place for Search residents and staff. Data does not show widespread fevers or symptoms among residents or staff. 

The Best News!

Today we received the wonderful news that an individual who had been hospitalized with serious symptoms has made an excellent recovery and is being discharged! We are so thankful for this news, and look forward to her return once she has finished physical therapy at a local rehab facility. 
Managing Risk

Risk mitigation has been tricky since many people who become infected show no symptoms and can carry it to others. For that reason, even with temperature and symptom checks, every time a staff member enters the home from the outside, there is a risk of exposure.

That is why we increasingly turned to a live-in staffing model, in which staff members move into the home and provide around the clock care and support seven days a week for 4-6 weeks. To date, we have converted 25 CILA homes to extended-shift (live-in) arrangements.

Our live-in teams prepare meals, clean and sanitize the homes, assist individuals with taking their medications, and help residents cope with the disruption this pandemic has caused in their lives. We are extremely grateful for our 50 staff members who have volunteered to take on this responsibility with compassion for our clients in their hearts .  

We are looking for additional staff who are willing to move into a home, for a 4-6 week commitment depending on our mandated shelter in place orders. This requires staff members to remain within their assigned home, for the duration of this period. Any staff member interested in working in a live-in capacity should contact Christine Zanca. 

Staying Connected

Search continues to distribute Facebook Portal devices at our homes. Individuals have been using these devices to connect via video calls with their families and loved ones, their primary care physicians, as well as clinical and nursing staff. Search has deployed devices at fifteen homes, and at our Clinical Services site in Mount Prospect for use by our nursing staff, for a total of sixteen active devices.

Economic Impact Payments

Last week we shared with you that most of our residents will be able to qualify for economic impact payments through the federal COVID emergency relief package. We were unable to answer whether or not individuals who receive SSI would be eligible. We have since received clarification from the Social Security Administration and the Illinois Department of Human Services that SSI recipients will receive automatic economic impact payments. As we noted last week, these payments will not be counted as income for one year.
Human Resources updates

Working Credit NFP, a credit counseling agency we have partnered with in the past, is now offering our employees a free helpline to help minimize the financial impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

If you’re worried about being able to pay your bills, have questions about your student loans, plan to use your credit cards to get through this crisis, or if you have non-credit related financial questions, an experienced credit building counselor is available to provide you with unbiased guidance as you confront challenging decisions.

You can reach Working Credit at (773) 904 9816 between 9 am and 9 pm CDT, Monday through Friday. If a counselor isn’t available, you’ll be prompted to leave your number, and the next available counselor will call you back within 24 hours.
Thank you!

We continue to receive incredible support from our community and we are so grateful. Last time, we asked you to help us celebrate the birthdays of our residents born in April by sending in birthday cards.

As has been the case throughout this crisis, you came through. On behalf of everyone here at Search, thank you for the cards, they’ve really made a big difference! Let’s keep the “Pand-Epic Birthday Shout Outs coming!
This is how it works - simply choose a name from the list below, and mail them a card to 625 Slawin Ct, Mt Prospect, IL 60056 . Be sure to include the person’s name you have chosen on the envelope. Let’s make their day special! 
We hope that these weekly newsletters will help the Search community stay connected and informed as we navigate this crisis together. To keep up to date about Search’s response, and to view or download PDFs of our latest notifications please visit our website here for the latest information and notifications .
We are grateful for the leadership and guidance we have been receiving from our Governor and the State’s Department of Human Services, and Department of Public Health during this unprecedented situation.

As always, thank you to all our incredible staff who continue to weather this storm and have shown unparalleled compassion and dedication over the past many weeks - stay Search strong!

All the best!
Cory Gumm
Search Inc.