DDS Announces Results from Surveys on Initial COVID-19 Responses

Recently DDS asked staff, providers, individuals and their families to provide feedback about how they thought the department handled the initial response to the first wave of the pandemic in the spring.  Specifically, DDS launched two After Action Review (AAR) surveys; one for DDS Staff and Providers, and one for Individuals and Families to learn more about what the department did well  during the first wave of the pandemic and what we can improve on moving forward.  The survey findings are summarized in two infographics which are organized to show results in the following areas: Continuity of Essential Functions, Preventive Actions, What DDS is Doing Well, What DDS Can Improve, and Disruptions Experienced Due to COVID.
93% of Individuals and Families and 89% of DDS Staff and Providers felt that DDS was able to continue to carry out our essential functions.  90% of Individual and Families and 81% of DDS Providers and Staff believed DDS had done everything possible to prevent loss of lives and the spread of COVID-19.  For staff who were designated to work from home, over 99% were able to do so, aided by technology and flexibility in standard work practices.  Funding assistance was very important to providers, yet the need for ongoing assistance was called for.  Case management was a theme for what DDS is doing well, and some Individuals and Families mentioned specific case managers by name as being extremely helpful.  Individuals and Families also felt that following precautions and a timely response were strengths, as was communication from case managers, DDS and Commissioner Scheff. 
All groups were concerned with ensuring guidelines and precautions are followed, and another common theme is ensuring PPE availability and use.  For staff, limited access to technology or internet connectivity led to some disruptions, and there were concerns for the impact of COVID-19 on person centered planning processes.  Individuals and Families experienced disruptions to daily routines,  with many mentioning day programs being closed and staff shortages.
DDS has been working on several fronts to mitigate the concerns shared and address some of what was identified as recommended improvements.
DDS is planning to conduct Feedback Sessions with survey participants who expressed an interest in meeting remotely to further discuss the response and provide group recommendations.  Findings and a summary of the recommendations will be presented to the DDS administration and will be posted on the DDS website once available.  As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available, we look forward to a time when we can conduct a true “After Action Review”.  Until then DDS will continue to seek ways to be responsive to our staff, providers, and individuals and families as we face together many challenges we have not faced before.