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COVID-19 Sparks Staff Increase, Health Measures at Langley Residential

While many organizations facing budget constraints have eliminated staff during the coronavirus pandemic, a local program had a diametric response — increasing their staff to care for residents who are displaced from work.

Tysons-based Langley Residential Support Services is a program that serves adults with developmental disabilities as well as their families and communities through residential and community support services. The program has six homes that offer both intensive and supportive assistance.

Many nonprofits and organizations eliminated staff since the pandemic hit to save money. However, since Langely Residential residents aren’t at work during the day, the site needed more staff to care for the extra number of residents. 

“It’s really tapped out our budget,” said Betsy Schatz, the executive director of Langley Residential. “We have somewhat of a reserve. We’ve been very frugal in our approach to spending during this time since we don’t know how long this is going to affect us.”

An increase in staff isn’t the only change Langley Residential has seen. They have also had to adapt to government guidelines to ensure safety during the pandemic. Masks and hand sanitizer have been provided to whoever requests them, from residents to staff. 

“The safer they are, the safer we are,” said Schatz. 

The facility has limited family visits, allowing families to come to the house and take their loved one outside, but they must wear masks and keep 6 feet away from each other. They are also taking residents’ temperatures frequently. Residents were also given iPads to FaceTime with their families. 

“It’s nice to see that people can finally visit with parents and maintain that closer relationship that is so important to them,” said Schatz. 

When the pandemic first hit, Schatz recounted a struggle to maintain adequate supplies on hand. One of the biggest worries was whether they would have enough medical supplies to keep the environment safe for residents. However, now they’re fully stocked up and working with a medical supply company in Springfield.

To keep residents active, Langley Residential has purchased a variety of games including outdoor putting, Connect Four and different arts and crafts. The facility was initially planning a bowling tournament for the residents, but due to the pandemic, it was canceled.

However, they are planning on holding a formal event in the fall that includes wine tasting and a silent auction. Whether the event comes to fruition depends on what phase of reopening Virginia is in, said Schatz. 

Schatz emphasized that the residents have been doing extremely well with the changes in lifestyle. While the pandemic hit them “out of the blue,” staff and residents have adapted and seem to be upholding the values of the facility and maintaining a feeling of home. 

“Our approach is to serve people as long as we can meet their needs. We want people to age in place, we want to make sure that people know that this is their home, not just a facility that they live in,” said Schatz.

Photo by Ava Green

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