To Our Patients and Community
Together, we face challenging times and we know that navigating the complexities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic can feel overwhelming. At the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), our top priority is providing our patients and teammates with safe, effective and efficient care. We are committed to supporting your physical and emotional wellbeing. Thus, we have expanded our processes and patient resources to help make ABA therapy as safe and comfortable as possible.
You are a valued member of the CARD family, and we will get through this pandemic together. If you have any questions, ideas or concerns, contact your local CARD center or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From all of us at CARD, be well, stay safe and thank you for the privilege of caring for you and your loved ones.
Continuing Your Care is Critical
We recognize that many of you have experienced schedule changes as we adapt to care for our patients. We apologize for this inconvenience. It is critical that you continue scheduled applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy sessions. Skipping sessions and reducing therapy hours can result in lost skills and actual regression in some patients. Therefore, we strongly encourage you to continue to receive ABA sessions as recommended by your clinician.
If you or your loved one are tested for or diagnosed with COVID-19, contact your local CARD center team in advance of arriving at the center or before the home therapy sessions, so they can help you navigate the increased safety measures to mitigate the risk of infecting others.
How are we addressing COVID-19?
- CARD has established a cross-functional COVID-19 Task Force comprised of guidance from health experts and company leadership to address the COVID-19 virus and ensure continued care in a safe environment for our patients and teammates.
- We are continually revising our policies and procedures per guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local authorities and clinical experts.
- Expanded health and safety guidelines and new workflows have been implemented in all CARD centers and Corporate Offices to address COVID-19 symptom screening, social distancing and visitor policies, infection control, disinfection and cleaning, personal protective equipment, measures to safely dialyze COVID-19 positive or symptomatic patients and all other efforts to provide a safe environment for patients and teammates.
CARD’s Vaccination Efforts
As the CDC and various public health experts have advised, vaccines are an important step to protect against COVID-19 and its evolving variants.
Since the announcement of the availability of COVID-19 vaccinations, CARD has been encouraging all patient-facing employees to sign-up and get vaccinated! All CARD employees providing therapy to patients in our centers, homes, academies and schools are considered essential mental health care workers for purposes of COVID-19 vaccine distribution purposes. We are already encouraged by various positive reports of our employees taking advantage of this opportunity.
A Community Effort
Besides keeping yourself and your family safe, COVID-19 vaccines are critical as we look to protect our larger communities.
Find out more about different vaccines available, tiers and rollout information here.
We ask that everyone continue to keep each other safe by adhering to all our enhanced infection control protocols and increased screening procedures. Together, we can help stop the pandemic.
Enhanced Infection Control Procedures Increased Screening Procedures
In addition to pre-screening for COVID-19 symptoms before you arrive, all individuals are screened upon arrival at all CARD centers with a questionnaire and temperature check.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Facemasks are mandatory for everyone inside our centers and teammates are required to wear full personal protective equipment – shields and facemasks and (reusable or disposable gloves in certain circumstances) – while in close contact with patients.
Cleaning and Disinfection
High-touch areas, toys and other supplies in our centers are repeatedly and thoroughly sanitized throughout each day and patient treatment areas undergo rigorous routine cleaning after every single session.
All patients and employees must follow CDC guidelines for safe social distancing measures – remaining at least six feet apart from others – and visitors are restricted to only those essential for patient care or parent collaboration meetings.
Since March, CARD has implemented the Health Screening Tools, which facilitate checking COVID-19 symptoms based on current CDC guidance.
Your CARD family is always striving to prioritize your safety and peace of mind. The COVID-19 Action Plan provides a seamless experience to our families and equips our team with the appropriate resources to better serve you.
The COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Assessment Tool addresses the effectiveness of limited contact and presence of non-essential personnel on CARD premises.
We also compiled tips about how to properly wear a mask, help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, appropriate handwashing technique according to the CDC in English and Spanish and lastly, at-home quarantine self-monitoring tips.
Increased Virtual Support Offerings
Telehealth services patients; please talk with your local CARD center team about your telehealth options.
Support for Our Teammates
We provide our CARD teammates with increased safety guidance and protocols to continue to do their vital work while keeping themselves and their loved ones healthy.
We Need Your Help
- Please comply and be patient with our screening processes, which may seem redundant and sometimes result in delays.
- Call ahead with any of the following symptoms – fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, the new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- We ask all staff and visitors to wear a mask while they are in the center or home sessions and when coming to the center or home sessions in transportation and while out and about in your community.
- Avoid large gatherings.
- Abide by social distancing measures in the lobby and the rest of the center.
- Wash your hands before therapy while in your center and frequently while at home.
- Consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine when available.
Managing a child or other family member with autism and related disorders is challenging. The spread of COVID-19 may be adding additional stress or making it more difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. CARD is committed to providing you with supportive resources to focus on what is most important to you and your loved one – good health. Check out the links below to help maintain your physical and emotional health and stay informed with the latest information.
CARD was fortunate to collaborate with other ABA providers to publish center reopening guidelines in the COVID-19 Emergency Publication Series published by the leading behavior analytic peer-reviewed journal, Behavior Analysis in Practice. Read the article here.
CARD’s commitment to the safety and well-being of our families has never been greater than it is today. In the midst of this unprecedented pandemic, we want to share the steps we have taken to keep our families and staff safe while continuing to provide access to essential medically necessary treatment.
Because CARD is a provider of essential health care and, as such, exempt from business closures, we have addressed COVID-19 with two goals: (1) keep our families and staff safe and (2) continue to provide medically necessary treatment. With this in mind, we have made an interim transition from center-based services to our patients’ homes and are using telehealth when funding sources permit.
Protocols for families and employees to stay home if they have symptoms of illness have always been in place, and COVID-19 reminds us of the importance of adhering to such protocols at all times and with no exceptions. CARD has implemented enhanced hygiene protocols for all staff, including extended handwashing; health checks; respiratory etiquette; and social distancing. We have issued guidance to staff to stay home if they feel sick or if someone in their home feels sick and have shifted the majority of our workforce to telework from home.
We know from research and from professional experience that disruptions in routine under the best of circumstances can pose considerable challenges. Children who have difficulty with comprehension and/or communication may express frustration and anxiety through self-injurious behavior, aggression, and/or withdrawal. In addition to addressing these immediate concerns, we are committed to doing everything we can to prevent regression and help your child continue to make progress.
Pending our temporary shift to telehealth, CARD intends to continue to provide home therapy services to our patients for as long as we are able to deliver them, given our workforce and government mandates. As states and health plans issue new guidance, we are working to ensure telehealth services for as many families as possible, and we have worked with insurers and health plans to add telehealth options where they were not previously available. Telehealth programs are already underway and will continue to expand in the coming days.
CARD leadership is monitoring all federal, state, and health-related COVID-19 updates, and we will continue to provide updates as necessary.
For general information about COVID-19, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To learn what to do to protect yourself or what to do if you feel sick, click here.
To review Frequently Asked Questions, click here.