Opening Adult Day Services In A Post COVID World

As the spread of the novel coronavirus became rampant in the United States, many industries were forced to shut down their institutions to prevent the transmission of the virus. Among the many types of organizations that closed due to the pandemic were non-emergent healthcare facilities. In efforts to control the surging cases of the unforgiving virus, several states implemented lockdown measures which led to the temporary closure of many non-emergent healthcare programs such as senior care centers and adult day services. But as the lockdown across America is starting to ease, adult day service centers are beginning to reopen. However, they must review their organizational culture and rework their policies in order to accommodate the post-pandemic business climate.


When the coronavirus outbreak emerged in America, individual states reviewed their adult day service strategies to deal with the unprecedented health crisis. By March 2020, most regions in America had enforced a number of regulations on the adult day service sector, which include:

  • Restricting visitors to long-term care facilities
  • Recommending isolation for many over the age of 60
  • Repurposing ADS staff to deliver in-home services, including personal care, medication management, would care, respite services, or other individual support services.
  • Using telemedicine to deliver ADS services that can be provided in this manner; and
  • Closing ADS centers and utilizing other services to maintain the health and welfare of participants

The State of Pennsylvania, however, allowed long-term care by providing individual attention in place of adult day to ensure health and safety. It also modified the healthcare provider qualifications so that more staff could provide in-home care services and any other needed services in place of the adult day during the closures.

Maryland closed all its ADS programs on March 16. The state only allowed some professionals to offer some specific services telephonically only to the patients; they were looking after before the closure.

While Pennsylvania and Maryland implemented pretty straight forward measures on adult day service programs, Colorado took a different approach. The Centennial State allowed some ADS responses based on the gravity of the patients’ needs. Adult care service providers in Colorado were permitted to provide support through telemedicine. They could also offer care in centers that served only a limited number of people.

As most states closed ADS as a response to the coronavirus, many organizations faced financial distress. To help facilities cope with the said economic distress, many states announced ‘retainer payments’ for ADS and senior living centers to keep them afloat.

Now, as the country is starting to stabilize, industries are beginning to reopen, which means adult day services were also resumed. However, ADS programs need to modify their style of operations to ensure that post-coronavirus standard operating procedures are enforced.

Implementing a new organizational culture can be challenging, especially when facilities are recovering from the financial loss they suffered during the pandemic. However, with thorough organizational assessment and meticulous planning, a new way of working can be achieved.

Here are some critical tips that can help ADS providers and centers revive their business while respecting the post-pandemic corporate climate.

Changing Organizational Culture to Tackle Post-Pandemic Challenges

Changing an organizations style of functioning can be quite challenging as the team need to unlearn their old ways and adopt new ones. When a team has been following a specific methodology to run the business, it becomes acquainted with that. And forgoing a practice that you are familiar with is always tricky, which is why cultural change is hard to achieve. But sometimes transforming organizational culture is indispensable, especially when external forces are involved, such as a post-pandemic work environment.

The first step to bringing a change is to determine the areas that are lacking so that a plan can be chalked out. That is done through an organizational assessment. A company can carry out an organizational assessment to gauge its weaknesses in various ways. It can use a number of frameworks to understand its practices and norms to develop the best possible strategies to drive a cultural change.

Essential Considerations when conducting an organizational assessment

Self-assessment or External assessment?

When a company decides to carry out an assessment, it must decide whether to do the job itself or hire an outsider. Sometimes companies prefer to use a combination of both approaches.

Both self and external assessment have their pros and cons. Self-assessment is better for the team’s morale and is more effective in motivating the team to implement the change afterward. On the other hand, external assessment is considered more reliable and fair, which is why it is more beneficial for an organization’s reputation.

When choosing an approach to assess your organization’s working culture, you need to consider the reason behind the change and the level of expertise required for it. For example, in the post-coronavirus corporate climate, companies need to enforce SOPs that control the transmission of the coronavirus. So they need factor in whether or not they have that sort of medical guidance that is required to explain to employees what needs to be done and why.

In the case of ADS programs, self-assessment is a viable option as they may already have healthcare experts engaged with the organization; in various capacities. So, a center can easily evaluate where it stands in terms of providing personal protective equipment (PPEs) to the staff, having improved sanitation, regular testing, and other areas of infection control.

However, the self-assessment process can be a little disorganized at times, especially if there is tension and uncertainty in the environment, as there is right now since people are not sure if following protocol will be enough to stop the transmission of the coronavirus. For a more streamlined company evaluation and change implementation, adult day service centers could benefit from an external assessment.

Selecting Issues to Focus on

Organizations have numerous facets, which is why it cannot conduct an assessment or bring a change without focusing on the issues that need modification. Therefore, choosing the aspects of change within the organization is essential for carrying a successful assessment and, ultimately, bring the necessary change.

In the current scenario, adult day services need to focus on the protective measures that are required to ensure the safety of participants and service provides alike. Therefore, an ADS center must check if it’s equipped to follow post-coronavirus SOPs, which includes having regular testing of staff, improved sanitation, decontamination of equipment used for participants, as per the recommendation of the CDC.

The Takeaway

Bringing a change in an organization requires effective and efficient leadership that can unite the team on all fronts and motivate it to participate in the process. If your center has engaging and effective leadership, adjusting to the new post-pandemic working climate will not be hugely challenging. If not, you may want to consider consulting with external sources to map out the strategies to refashion your organization’s culture.

Feel like you need someone to help you out with developing an organizational assessment to help you manage opening in a post COVID world? Contact Harpeth Consultant Advisory Group to discuss your needs and how we can help.