Village Northwest Unlimited Staff Handle COVID Issues

Sheldon, Iowa — COVID-19 has pretty much changed nearly every aspect of our lives. But it also changes the lives of people who live at Village Northwest Unlimited and their direct support professionals.

The village’s director of human resources, Brian Robyn tells us more.

(as said:) “COVID’s been a challenge for the Village as a whole obviously trying to keep everyone healthy, keep everyone from being infected, and all those things and of course, we’ve got to do great due diligence to do that. But we’ve had to adjust programming. We’ve had to limit contact with people from outside of the community, you know, obviously, we had to cancel July 3rd celebration. We canceled the Village Golf Outing. We… Really we’ve had to make adjustments.”

He says probably where the biggest adjustments have been made is in the home.

(as said:) “Our individuals living in those homes don’t have the ability to go out and do as many things that they would like and of course we limit who can come visit them. So it’s been a challenge trying to … Just like any of us who have experienced any type of quarantine… You know, 14 days or whatever of not being able to do those things that you’re used to doing… now compound that and you’re looking at six months of adjusted social life and adjusted living skills. It’s been difficult. There’s no way to say it hasn’t been difficult. But that’s where I think we look at our staff and go,  ‘Thank you so much for what you’ve done during this time to maintain the grace of caring for individuals. You have worked extremely hard to become creative and engage our  residents in great activities.'”

Robyn gives us an idea of what they’ve done.

(as said:) “We’ve had block parties here on campus (socially distanced of course.) We’ve had events. We brought the state fair to them by having a contest of who could make the best butter sculptures. We’ve had fair food… We had a day where they could come around and get their fair food. We can play fair games. So our staff has done an incredible job of just caring for the individuals and making life seem as normal as possible as it can during a pandemic.”

And Robyn says that can be even more of a challenge when you consider that many people at the village have diminished capacities.

(as said:) “We’ve done the best job we can to explain but yeah, it certainly is not the easiest thing to do to explain that, you know, you have staff now that are wearing masks around them all the time. They are seeing people in PPE that they used to wouldn’t have had to see and if you know, I think you think about it the first time you see somebody coming towards you with a mask on… it’s intimidating. I think they’ve adjusted because it’s been ongoing and we’ve had a lot of conversations about why this is happening and why we’re trying to protect their safety. It’s just a constant discussion with them of what’s happening. And as you try to explain it in a level that they can and I think we’ve been fairly successful with that, but certainly it’s a challenge.”

Village Northwest Unlimited is nationally recognized as one of the premier providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, or traumatic brain injuries. Village Northwest Unlimited officials say they build successful lives for 180 individuals by providing opportunities and choices in residential, vocational, and social programs while fulfilling their mission of providing Purpose, Privacy, and Dignity. For more information, you can call the Village at (712) 324-4873.

Photo caption: (pre-COVID) file photo



Local News