Nechako Valley Community Services Society held their brand unveiling on Oct. 9, 2019 at their Vanderhoof location. The organization is now called Connexus Community Resources. (Aman Parhar photo)

Connexus adpating their services to meet needs amidst COVID-19

Connexus Community Resources is open via phone, text, or video conferencing for support in Vanderhoof, Fort St. James and Fraser Lake.

“We have our doors physically closed, but will offer support in-person when needed with appropriate precautions and responsible physical distancing,” said Paula Wylie, clinical supervisor and program manager at Connexus.

Their staff is available Monday to Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm in Vanderhoof and Fort St. James, and the organization is also doing outreach work in Fraser Lake via technology.

Services are still available in all of the programs Connexus offers, however, they are just being delivered differently, Wylie said.

“We are monitoring the ever changing dynamics with this COVID-19 situation and will do our best to offer as much support to those needed, especially during this challenging time,” she said.

One of the organization’s highest priorities during this pandemic is to ensure the safety and well-being of those seniors who live at Riverside Place, which is an assisted living and supportive housing complex.

“We are taking extraordinary measures to ensure our residents in this facility are protected from contracting COVID-19,” Wylie said.

These measures include — restricting visitors from entering the facility; increase janitorial services and have extra cleaning and disinfection procedures as part of the daily routine; provide more services to support seniors.

“Further measures may be taken as we continue to follow the directives from the health authority and public health.”

“We also have a 24 hour staffed group home that continues to stay open. Activities have been adapted to ensure clients and staff observe physical distancing outside of the home. When the weather is warm we encourage residents to get outside and enjoy the nature around us,” Wylie explained.

Below is a list of services that can be accessed at Connexus Community Resources as supplied by Paula Wylie.

Early Years Services

Connexus is currently offering support and programs in a variety of innovative ways to ensure continued services to families.

The organization is also offering opportunities for children and families to connect with each other through programs such as live Story Time readings on Facebook and parenting groups through Zoom.

“During this time of physical distancing we want to ensure our families that social connection is possible and we are here to continue supporting them,” Wylie said.

Youth and family services

The Society offers support through technology and when needed, and Wylie said that with responsible physical distancing and appropriate precautions they will provide in-person support as well.

“Staff are trying to find new ways of providing resources to families over the internet. Facebook is one example, where we try to provide information to families on topics such as ideas for parents to do with their children while in isolation, tips for parents with children experiencing anxiety, and overall positive mental health tips for everyone.”

Adult Services

Connexus staff is finding creative ways to offer support to individuals with developmental disabilities.

The organization’s Community Inclusion Program have adapted the service to provide ongoing support to each individual through phone, text, videoconferencing and more, Wylie said.

The Community Inclusion Employment Program is unfortunately unable to facilitate service due to public health guidelines, she said.

“We continue to work with clients to prepare them for employment so that they are well prepared once public health guidelines allow us.”

Seniors

“We have seniors at Riverside Place that need to be protected as they are a very vulnerable population with this pandemic. There are currently no visitors (only under approved and special circumstances for family) during this time and this is to protect our seniors in this residence.”

“We are doing our best at entertaining them daily within the residence by offering activities such as games, crafts, movies, bingo, etc. All at responsible physical distancing.”

“We check in with them regularly to ensure the seniors we are connected with to have food, medication they need, and just social connection during this time. Our coordinator does very well at reaching out when we need volunteers to connect with seniors and we thank our great community at helping us when we need extra volunteers,” Wylie explained.

Housing Services

Connexus provides housing to individuals, seniors and families. As a result of COVID-19, people have lost their jobs, and Wylie said, for those impacted, “we want to assure these individuals that if they are unable to pay their rent during this time, they will not be penalized or evicted,” said Wylie.

There are subsidy and supports offered by the Society, to homeless or people at risk of homelessness.

“Individuals are encouraged to call the office for assistance.”

READ MORE: IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19


Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com

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