Ways SOT Programs are Helping Their Clients

Moving to Tele-Health Platforms

Many programs have now transitioned to tele-health platforms to ensure the least disruption in their services to their clients. Click here for Tele-Health Software or here for Tele-Health Regulations.

  • Programs report they have contacted all their clients for initial remote check-in and some screening, over the past weeks. Check-in sessions of 10 minutes are allowable coding for case management.
  • Programs are working on needs assessment for clients during this time and beginning to screen and intake new clients via tele-health.
  • Some programs are figuring out if and how group services could be conducted using these platforms.
  • HIPAA compliance waivers from HHS/CMS are in effect for the duration of this crisis. See Tele-health Regulations.
  • Ally Beckman can share CVT’s tele-health protocol, contact Ally Beckman
  • Some questions remain on:
    • how to ensure HIPAA compliance
    • how to best protect their clients when they may be in situations where privacy during meetings is questionable
    • securing and retaining interpreter services 
    • integrating interpreter services into tele-health platforms. It has been easier to integrate live interpreters as you can send them the link for your meeting. A ossible solution if you are having a difficult time finding interpreters for your clients, recommended by one program is Cyracom.
    • engaging and facilitating clients’ responsiveness to remote intake, screening, counseling
    • addressing clients’ technology challenges, and lack of access to the technology needed
    • how to handle the challenges associated with remote medical evaluation for affidavits where physicians may be limited in their ability to conduct a full exam using this technology
    • how to obtain signatures for legal paper forms

Addressing Basic Services

Clients are facing challenges due to disruptions of medical, mental health, legal, and social services, in addition to addressing and maintaining basic services like food, housing, transportation, legal status, employment status, xenophobia, and education for their children. Programs are concerned with effective and timely responses for the especially vulnerable among their SOT clients, including: the elderly, those medically fragile, pregnant women, those at risk of domestic violence, and other forms of violence such as xenophobic attacks. Another challenge they are facing is how to address the client needs of non-English speaking with low literacy to non-literate clients within their affected family and refugee and immigrant community at large. Programs are working hard to locate resources and connecting them to their clients in need. Some programs are simplifying their services to counseling and sharing COVID-19 information as well as addressing the basic needs of their clients:

  • COVID-19: Programs are communicating with their clients to give them COVID-19 information in their language, making sure they understand that information and what is currently happening, and helping give them accurate information and tamp down false information or rumors regarding the the virus and current situation. If current COVID-19 resources are not available in the language they need for their clients, they are creating their own. Click here for CDC Multilingual Resources and Additional Multilingual Resources. Programs are working to how to supporting “infected” clients, those exposed to and/or being tested for COVID-19, HIV clients, and those with chronic health conditions.
  • Talking to clients about facts versus rumors: Some programs are taking measures for combating misinformation and community rumors (e.g., No eviction temporary waiver and that itdoes not mean rent forgiveness). This is to help reduce their state of confusion, fear, anxiety, and their risk of re-traumatization.
  • Shelter: Programs are working to find homes or at least beds for clients that are homeless or in shelters, which brings concers of communal housing and social distancing issues.
  • Food: Programs are supplying clients with delivery of food (some making sure they have up to 2 weeks food supply) and/or giving them gift cards for grocery stores.
  • Income: As many clients are now unemployed, programs are trying to help their clients fill out their tax returns, which will help them show they worked last year, and then with filling out unemployment applications.
  • Legal Services: Asylum seekers are particularly vulnerable during this situation with many in legal limbo and possibly in detention or in transitional/informal shelters. Their safety, health, and mental well-being are a priority, as they often do not have legal and safe access to the same provisions offered through refugee and immigrant services. Some programs are responding to this need by created as a result of abrupt displacement from employment and housing by providing grants, creating Facebook and website pages for asylum seekers, and/or by supporting with unemployment application and advice income tax filing as mentioned under Income (above). Also there is concern for detainees regarding what will happen if the virus spreads in their facilities.
  • Mental Health and Medical Services: The current crisis is triggering for many clients, so programs are doing daily to weekly check-ins with their clients to check on their safety, mental and medical needs. Some programs are seeing clients with emergency cases and/or walk-ins, with requisite protective precautions for both clients and providers. Some are extending hours to help with social distancing but still helping clients in great need. Click here for Mental Health Resources. Programs are inovating and working to keep some group services like dance, mind-body, and knitting to continue over various platforms. Some of the more resilient clients are creating their own support groups. Here are some offerings you can share with your clients:

If you would like to share any of the ways that you are working to help your clients, please share in the comment section below!




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