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Washington

A Time for Necessary Diligence

By Donald Lachman, Special Projects Coordinator and Andrea Talmadge, Regional Coordinator – WestCare Washington/WAServes

“This is no time to relax.” These are powerful words of caution spoken at our recent Western District Leadership Team meeting by Chief Operating Officer for our Western Region, Shawn Jenkins; Chief Clinical Officer for WestCare Foundation, Dr. Jason Engle and Medical Director for WestCare California, Dr. Herbert Cruz. They led an important conversation on the serious risks posed by an emerging social condition some have labeled as, “COVID fatigue.” This involves persons, no matter their vaccination status, relaxing their public health and safety practices needed in order to reduce a person’s risk to COVID-19 infection as its Delta variant continues to sweep throughout the country.

Dr. Cruz shared his recent observations on what he refers to as, “Diminishing individual diligence,” evidenced by reduced practices among some persons that include hand washing, sanitizing of work items, and the consistent/proper wearing of masks.

Shawn emphasized our responsibility to WestCare’s clients, many of whom are at high risk of infection due to preexisting conditions and the increased need to practice and model meticulous adherence to all public health recommendations.

At WestCare Washington (WCWA)/WAServes, we share our leadership’s concerns on the condition referred to as “COVID Fatigue” as Washington State achieves an overall 70% vaccination rate as of mid-July. We embrace this emphasis on properly modeling safe practices to reduce COVID infections and encourage our clients to do the same. The trust that we as WestCare staff build with our clients uniquely positions us to continue providing effective clinical and social services even as the pandemic remains a serious health risk in our communities.

Additionally, the pandemic has highlighted the technological and connectivity gaps experienced by many rural, aging, and disabled populations. The causes for this can be very individualized and may range from a lack of reliable internet, personal physical limitations, poverty, or the challenges of adapting to ever-evolving technology. In 2021, WCWA’s coordinated case management program looks forward to addressing these gaps by collaborating with Sound Generations, Washington State’s largest provider of comprehensive services for aging adults and their loved ones residing in King County. We will be applying the lessons that we’ve learned from their recent pilot project with local senior centers. Various devices and personal tech support practices were introduced and evaluated to determine what provided the best customer experience.

By WestCare

We're a family of nonprofit organizations providing a wide spectrum of health and human services across the United States, 3 U.S. territories, and 2 Republics.

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