Triangle
people with ability
For 49 years, we’ve been walking together toward a brighter future. Welcome to Triangle, Inc.!

How Our Clinical Team is Supporting Program Participants Now!

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has touched virtually everyone, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who rely upon Triangle’s programs for support. The hard decision to suspend day programming in March in order to keep our community safe was especially difficult because we  understood the vital need for continued support as the people in our programs navigated an extremely challenging time. The unfortunate reality is that the quickly changing circumstances and stay-at-home order presented unique needs for the individuals that Triangle serves. As a result, our clinical team quickly found ways to provide the necessary virtual support for all Triangle program participants. 

Many of the issues that individuals with disabilities are facing are similar to the challenges everyone is facing during a time of extreme isolation of the stay-at-home advisory in Massachusetts.. Some program participants are currently unable to work and are facing a loss of income. The anxiety from this is compounded by fears about their own health and the health of loved ones. A number of people in our programs also struggled to access technology to stay connected to the programs Triangle has been offering via videoconferencing systems like Zoom. In addition, there are concerns that are more specific to each individual who we serve. The disruption of daily living, changes in sleep or eating patterns, unhealthy eating habits, and confusion have a greater impact on many individuals with disabilities who thrive off of routine and have a difficult time adjusting to change.

Triangle’s clinical team responded to these concerns by offering additional support in every way possible. They immediately provided crucial information on COVID-19 and hygiene, in addition to countless resources for schedule templates, safe activity ideas, and more. Triangle staff members on our clinical team have conducted regular check-ins with managers of all of our major programs across the organization to make sure that the organization was supporting and responding to any emerging needs.

Both program participants and staff members have benefited from training sessions facilitated by the clinical team on a variety of subjects, including coping skills and understanding triggers. For those who had a difficult time adjusting to the technology, there have been additional resources provided on how to fully utilize the Zoom platform for breakout groups or to facilitate group conversations with many participants.. Staff members have been regularly reminding everyone that they are not alone and acknowledging that what they are feeling is normal. Providing our program participants with a sense of routine amidst an uncertain world has also been a crucial part of the clinical team’s plan. Routines can help make a situation feel more comfortable and predictable, and lower stress levels.

The clinical team has tackled the changing situation by continuing to educate themselves. They have researched the best options for telecommunication, regularly ask for feedback, and have remained flexible even as the situation continues to change. They are focused on being role models for positivity for everyone in the organization, staff and program participants alike. Their hard work in providing support to everyone in the organization has helped Triangle continue to best serve the needs of our program participants!

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Triangle Provides Local Legislators with a Program Update!

On Tuesday, May 12th, Triangle, Inc. held a briefing for its state legislative delegation to provide an update on how it has transitioned all major services to remote learning to serve individuals with disabilities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Triangle CEO Coleman Nee also reviewed the organization’s decision making timeline since early March. Triangle’s contingency plans emphasized communication with local boards of health, state agencies, and families of our residents and participants. Safety plans for each residential home were filed with respective municipalities and gained positive feedback. As the Department of Developmental Services made mobile testing available to residential homes in April, Triangle was one of the first organizations to take advantage of this service on the first day it became available.

“We needed to know as much as possible about our staff and participants’ health to inform our decision making and to best protect the individuals in our care,” said Drew Warren, Triangle Chief Program Officer who oversees Triangle’s residential homes.

Through Friday, May 15th, Triangle has experienced 38 positive cases of COVID-19 amongst its staff and residents. Thirty of those individuals have now safely ended their period of isolation and the remaining eight are being fully supported by the organization. Three individuals in our care were hospitalized as part of their diagnosis, but have now been discharged and are back in their homes with their housemates and Triangle staff members.

Triangle has remained dedicated to our staff members throughout the crisis. Staff members who continue to work on the frontlines have received enhanced pay, including a bonus structure based on hours worked in the community on top of overtime pay. Additional hazard pay was enacted to support residential staff members who worked weeks-long shifts in one of our homes directly affected by a positive COVID-19 case.

Triangle leaders also briefed the delegation on the status of state funding levels, which have been in flux as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reacts to the pandemic. More than 20 legislators and/or staff members joined the video conference, including Triangle Board Member Rep. Paul Donato. Several officials, including Sen. Sal DiDominico, Sen. Jason Lewis, Sen. Joan Lovely, and Rep. Paul Tucker, spoke in support to Triangle and the larger provider community as they continue to support with individuals with disabilities during the pandemic and into the future.

To read more about Triangle’s programing transition since the stay-at-home advisory was enacted, please visit our previous blog posts, including features on our Day Programs, Workforce Development efforts, IMPACT classes, and our EPIC service learning program. If you would like to support our efforts, you can donate to our Fund for Ability, which is helping to support the organization as it navigates this crisis and help ensure its long-term sustainability.

Posted in COVID-19, Fund for Ability | Comments closed
Triangle, Inc. is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

All Triangle, Inc. programs will follow state guidelines on how/when to re-open its various locations and programs in the coming weeks.  Check-in with your Triangle contact or email learnmore@triangle-inc.org with any questions you may have!