Dec. 8, 2021 — After completing the closure of residential programs for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) in Newport on Dec. 1, 2021, Shangri-La is now also moving to close the remainder of its IDD residential, employment and day service programs in Florence and Newport.
In the weeks after making the announcement to close residential programs in Newport, additional information about the difficulty of getting services for individuals served at the Florence group home surfaced in greater detail. This sparked a series of more in-depth conversations about risks to health and safety due to the lack of community resources available in Florence and ongoing staffing hardships.
“Historically, we have had a hard time finding employees in the Florence community,” explained Janet Yousey, CEO. “To start, there is already a smaller pool of candidates to recruit from, and like so many other industries right now, the applications just aren’t coming in. Without the people needed to appropriately staff the program, we are unable to provide the quality of services we pride ourselves on. While we have a number of dedicated staff, there's only so many extra shifts we can ask people to fill before burnout happens. We are at the tipping point.”
On Oct. 4, Shangri-La published “Continuity of Services is Focus Amidst Dire Staffing Situation; Shangri-La Asks for Help” to its website, with further background on its staffing situation.
Additionally, limited access to medical resources in the community (i.e., lack of access to pharmacies to fill emergency and unplanned prescriptions, availability and wait times for physicians, etc.) makes it hard to serve the individuals at the Florence home.
The geographic location of the program also makes getting the necessary training, supplies and maintenance services difficult on a consistent and timely basis.
The decision to close the Florence residential program then initiated conversations about the viability of Shangri-La's coastal Life Enrichment Activities Program (LEAP), a day services program, and the Community Employment Services (CES) program, which helps job seekers with disabilities obtain and maintain employment with a community business. Ultimately, it was decided that the coastal LEAP and CES programs are unlikely to remain stable enough on their own, let alone attempting to also cover the overhead of maintaining a coastal office.
The last day for residential services is Dec. 31, 2021, and the last day for day and employment services is Jan. 30, 2022, per the required timelines set forth by the Oregon administrative rules that govern the programs.
In all, the services of about 40 individuals served are affected by these closures, the majority of which are receiving employment-related supports.
In the weeks ahead, Shangri-La will work with Lane and Lincoln County Developmental Disability service coordinators and each individual’s support team to develop a transition plan.
Although it is always the goal to keep people living in the community of their choice, service providers in both counties are limited. As such, some individuals may have to seek services from providers in other communities.
“Although it is hard to see the end of Shangri-La's long tenure providing services in Florence and Newport, we are hopeful that the reduction in our geographic footprint can increase our capacity to strengthen the quality of services offered by Shangri-La programs along the I-5 corridor. We will always remain grateful for the contributions made by each dedicated coastal employee, some who have been supporting individuals in these communities for several years,” said Yousey.