The Impact of Covid-19 on a Disability Service – Part Two

Our first Blog described our experience of navigating the early stages of the pandemic and the critical work streams that needed to be established to enable us to begin responding to the challenges of COVID-19.

Now, as we move from the initial response into the phase of longer-term accommodation and slow easing of restrictions, our focus is moving to recovery and planning for the safe and gradual re-opening of day, school and clinical services and of residential houses for visitors.

We are also conscious of the need to remain vigilant and flexible, should there be a resurgence of Covid-19 during the reopening phases, which would require expedient and appropriate adjustment of our service response.

Work is underway to recommence essential face-to-face clinical supports, in line with public health guidance. Clinics, assessments and reviews are being arranged for those who most urgently need these.

It is clear that a multi-faceted approach to clinical services delivery will be required for the foreseeable future, in order for safe and effective clinical supports to be delivered to the children and adults who use our services.

That approach will need to incorporate a mixture of phone contact, video calls, face-to-face interventions and online training modules and other remote approaches.

Alongside the resumption of clinical services, the day support services that have been stalled are now also in a process of phased reintroduction. Outdoor and remote supports are expanding throughout the summer and planning is underway for a gradual increase in face-to-face and in-building day support hours as we move into the autumn.    

The realities of the longer-term effects of and learning from the pandemic mean that some of the ways we have ‘always done things’ will need to change. Some of the lessons we have learnt during this time and the new ways we have begun to work will be worth holding onto and developing into the future.

In other cases, we will need to find a way back to providing the much-needed supports that are currently on hold for the people we serve and their families. There will be a requirement for ongoing review, audit, research and learning.

New children are being born every week who will need our services and others are growing up, ready to make the transition from school to adult life.  

Now, more than ever, quality services are needed that promote the well-being of people with disabilities and support them to live fulfilling lives.

At St. Michael’s House, we remain committed to that work.

This Blog was written by Eilín de Paor, Clinical Manager for Adult Services & Caroline Howorth, Speech and Language Therapy Manager, St. Michael’s House, Dublin

E-mail: &

Twitter: @de_eilin & @HoworthCaroline

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