Adapting to Change to Ensure the Future of Lakemary

Adapting to change

For more than 50 years, Lakemary has built a rich history of serving children and adults with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Our work ensures that this vulnerable population has every opportunity to experience a fulfilling life and achieve their full potential. 

Half a century of living this mission has involved constant monitoring and adjusting of our services in order to better serve the individuals in our care. The importance of this has never been more evident than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initial Response

At the start of this crisis, statewide restrictions were put in place and Kansas schools and businesses were forced to close. We quickly gathered a response team to anticipate and navigate changes to our services, and our staff worked swiftly to pivot most of our in-person services to be delivered remotely in order to avoid any interruptions in care for our clients.

Our company values – positivity, embracing change, excellence, respect, and singularity (P.E.E.R.S.) – have guided our actions in response to this pandemic,” says Gianna Gariglietti, president and CEO of Lakemary. “These fundamental beliefs provide a roadmap to help us adjust to unusual and uncertain times and continue to deliver our mission.”   

Reducing Risk

The health and safety of all the individuals served throughout our programs and our staff has always been our top priority. Temperatures of both individuals and staff are monitored daily, and new hygiene and safety protocols have been established to promote hand washing, social distancing, good hygiene, and more.

Until recently, all visits and outings were suspended for residents in our care. While this policy was necessary to limit exposure, our staff has made every effort to help our individuals be social, enjoy fun activities, and virtually connect with family and friends. Currently, we are following a phased approach and allowing onsite visits to be scheduled for Kansas families only.

Many of our individuals have not traveled outside their homes or campus and have not been exposed to potential community spread,” says Gariglietti. “Our staff are mindful of the choices they make outside of Lakemary and how those choices can impact the vulnerable population we serve and their coworkers.”

Masks are required to be worn by our staff while working, any out-of-state travel must be reported, and we are asking staff to maintain these hygiene practices outside of Lakemary. An internal campaign is being rolled out to inspire staff to remain vigilant in their efforts to protect their health as well as the health of those we serve.

Looking ahead

While Kansas has lifted restrictions and allowed several businesses to reopen, the overall number of COVID-19 cases in the state has increased. Without a vaccine and so many unknowns still ahead, we are taking a cautious approach. The potential for numbers to spike into the fall and winter lingers. To date, zero persons served by Lakemary have tested positive for COVID-19 due to the policies and procedures we have enacted.

While it is tempting to try to get ‘back to normal’ after so many months of restrictions, it doesn’t mean the risk is gone,” says Gariglietti. “We will continue to monitor and adjust our approach with guidance from local and state health agencies on how best to safely re-enter work, social gatherings, and other activities.”

New information and updates to our policies and procedures can be found at www.lakemary.org/covid-19.