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March 18, 2020

Dear Friends, Caregivers, Volunteers and Clients of the ASK Friendship Society,

I wish to update and provide you with further information on the actions and prevention measures we are taking at the ASK Friendship Centre regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Effective March 17, 2020, as directed by Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), the Centre was closed for participants and volunteers until further notice. Effective March 20, 2020, staff will begin to work from home to ensure that we are taking all the steps necessary to be safe through social distancing.

For the rest of this week the staff will remain at the Centre connecting with all our clients and families via telephone to gather information and check in on their wellbeing. The staff will then create individual care and outreach plans that will include ensuring access to meals, caregiver support, information sharing, friendly conversation and wellness check-ins for the duration of the closure. We will continue to work closely with VCH to support your case managers via regular phone call check in’s with our clients and families. If you are in need of something and can’t reach your case manager, please call the Centre for support at 604-263-7333, leave a detailed message and we will return your call. Alternatively, you can email caring@askcentre.ca. We will be checking both on a regular basis.

Starting March 23 staff will be calling our clients and their families on an ongoing basis to update them on relevant information, ensuring everyone is being cared for and supports are in place and spending some time making friendly conversation to help reduce the social isolation. The situation is changing rapidly, so we will continue to connect and be creative in ways that we can support from a distance. Please keep in mind, phone calls may be made from a blocked number in order to protect the privacy of our staff. If you want to reach a staff member, please leave a message on our general voicemail as it will be checked frequently.

If anyone of you, our friends, feels that you or a senior you know is in need of this type of phone support that we will be providing during this unprecedented time, please contact ASK either by email or phone. 604-263-7333 or caring@askcentre.ca We will do our best to accommodate.

We all know the importance that Adult Day Programs have for seniors and families in our communities. However, it’s important that we take steps necessary to ensure the health and safety of you, our participants, and our staff. Thank you to all of you for doing your part by practicing social distancing while you are also looking after your families, friends and neighbours.

Remember that social distancing does not mean social disconnect. We still need to ensure that everyone, especially our seniors, are connected to reduce the negative effects of isolation. The way this happens will look different in the weeks to come. In the coming weeks we will be re-evaluating the ways that we can support our seniors and families if this closure continues for any length of time.

I know that all of you will join me in thanking our dedicated staff for the care, support and attention that they provide to all our clients and wish them good health.

Do you have further questions about COVID-19?
We continue to provide daily updates to the public at www.VCH.ca/COVID19 Additional information on COVID-19 is available on the BC Centre for Disease Control (don’t know why there is a line through this! 😉 Both sites are updated regularly, so we encourage you to check them frequently.

The province has also created a phone service to provide non-medical information about COVID-19, including the latest information on travel recommendations and social distancing. Information is available in more than 110 languages, 7:30am – 8pm at 1-888-COVID19 (1-888-268-4319) or via text message at 604-630-0300.

Sincerely,
Kara Turner
Executive Director
ASK Friendship Society

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