I'm unfortunately aware of the toll the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has had on people with I/DD
As a board member at Mercy Home, family physician, and Chief Medical Officer at the Metro Community Health Centers, I'm unfortunately aware of the toll the novel coronavirus causing COVID-19 has had on adult men and women with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) who live with supports in the community and in residential or group home settings such as Mercy Home. The medical, economical and emotional devastation caused by the virus has been well documented. However, as we're still in the midst of the pandemic, the aftermath and impact this crisis will have may not be seen for years to come.
In April, the New York Times shared a study which found that residents of group homes and similar facilities in New York City and surrounding areas were 5.34 times more likely than the general population to develop Covid-19 and 4.86 times more likely to die from it. This study revealed what has already been clear to many professionals in the medical and human services fields. The ongoing impact of COVID-19 amongst the intellectual and developmentally disabled population has been and continues to be under reported.
Although people with I/DD tend to suffer from poorer overall health and are widely classified as a high-risk population, the COVID-19 pandemic response amongst leading global public health organizations has yet to categorically identify them as high risk. In addition, public health recommendations specific for this population are lacking.
As a longtime advocate for the developmental disability community, I’m proud to share this comprehensive reported titled, Support Guidelines for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities During the COVID-19 Pandemic, published by the American Academy of Developmental Medicine & Dentistry.
This collaborative white paper introduces supportive research findings and provides clear guidelines to be applied nationally in order to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on individuals with I/DD. The report also addresses the need for additional support for direct support . The report also addresses the need for additional support for direct support professionals (DSPs), nurses, and caregivers whose elevated mental & emotional stresses and health support needs are often overlooked as they continue to provide care and ensure the safety of our most vulnerable men, women, and children. To read this report, please visit AADMD.org. To find out more information on how you can help advocate for Mercy Home and the I/DD community, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Vincent Siasoco MD, MBA. joined Mercy Home’s Board of Directors in 2019. He's a Board-certified Family Physician and Chief Medical Officer at the Metro Community Health Centers. He's a member of the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry and appointed Chair of the newly formed Special Olympics NY Health Advisory Council.