July 2, 2020
Dear Families, Clients and Colleagues,
As a dedicated provider of mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders, Benchmark Transitions takes the safety of our clients, employees and visitors as a priority. As a licensed and certified residential & outpatient treatment center, and a structured clinical transitional living program, we are also fully accredited by The Joint Commission for Behavioral Healthcare, thus experienced in practicing General Infection Prevention and Control protocols.
Benchmark Transitions remains committed to staying open and providing essential treatment and clinical transitional living services to young adults, ages 18-28, with mental health and co-occurring substance use disorders.
As we continue to monitor our resources from The Joint Commission, The CA Department of Health Care Services, and CA Department of Social Services, San Bernardino County Department of Healthcare and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Benchmark is following guidelines outlined by local, state and federal governments and has implemented the following criteria:
- Benchmark will continue to review and update our emergency plans as needed, in addition to strategic referral and/or containment process for anyone with signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
- We continue to communicate with staff and clients on health and safety precaution measures for infection prevention, including:
- Increased hand hygiene – washing with soap and water for 20 seconds before and after individual and group sessions, as well as before and after mealtimes as well as for activities throughout the day and evening and hand sanitizer in accessible locations.
- Increased routine cleaning and disinfecting of all facilities, at least two times daily for each facility and home.
- Avoiding close contact with increased physical distancing for staff and clients.
- Added the use of cloth face coverings to provide additional protection from spreading the COVID-19 virus when in closed quarters and can’t maintain physical distancing.
- Daily temperature check of all clients and screening for signs and symptoms.
- Addition of sneeze/cough guards on desks for admit and assessments.
- The Admissions department is thoroughly pre-screening prospective and incoming clients and family members for acute respiratory illness (fever, cough, difficulty breathing), including detailed questions about travel abroad and domestically, family illness, possibility of infection of family members prior to admit and will not admit or permit anyone onsite or into the program who poses as potential threat to our current clients and staff.
- We have temporarily restricted all visitation and postponed onsite Parent Workshops.
- Families are not permitted to participate in the onsite admissions process or visit with their son or daughter enrolled in our program and are offering the opportunity to engage in tele-communications and tele-heath for family sessions.
- Case management and therapists will be able to utilize video-call in applications on cell phones & tablets as well as telemedicine technology and self-assessment tools when possible.
- All on-site staff are required to submit a Daily Wellness Certificate self-assessment at the beginning of each shift, confirming that they have not experienced signs or symptoms of COVID 19 in the last two weeks, that they aren’t caring for anyone with COVID-19 and temperatures are checked prior to reporting for their shift.
- Although the California stay-at-home guidelines have been lifted, there are still restrictions for some of our typical weekend and evening activities. Thus, many client activities are conducted on-site, at our facilities and on our properties.
- AA/NA/12 Step recovery meetings are held via Zoom at each house for those clients participating in 12 step recovery.
- Per State of CA guidelines, all restaurants, family entertainment venues, zoos and museums are temporarily closed, so clients are eating meals at Benchmark facilities, such as our Transitional Living Center or the residential/transitional living homes.
- On-site activities include swimming, ping-pong, board games, yard games, television (evenings and weekends after hours), BBQ, baking, arts & crafts, outdoor sports on property.
- Clients are able to go off-site with staff, or on their own depending upon their level of care, for non-essential services such as shopping at grocery stores, fast food, coffee shops, retail, volunteering and part time jobs, adhering to CDC, state and local guidelines.
- We are facilitating our SOAR Activities (Sober Outdoor Adventure Recreation) on our properties and local outdoor areas that are not populated, where we can maintain physical distancing while we allow our young people the opportunity to get some fresh air outside of the homes and facilities.
- Off-site activities include weekly shopping (snacks/personal sundries, etc.), hiking, fitness activities, coffee shops, yogurt/ice cream, local parks & recreation, walking trails
Benchmark Transitions is confident that by following these routine practices and the evolving CDC guidance, we can provide for the safety and well-being of our clients, staff and visitors.
Sincerely and in Good Health,
Jayne S. Longnecker-Harper, M.Ed., Founder & CEO