Committed to Our Community During COVID-19

Hillside Family of Agencies has responded to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic by redoubling our efforts to serve vulnerable youth and families in the communities we all call home.

  • Our direct-care teams are on the watch for COVID-19 symptoms among youth in residential treatment, and following all safety protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health.
  • With Hillside schools and Day Treatment centers closed, our education teams and residential treatment staff are helping youth receive consistent access to learning opportunities.
  • Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection Youth Advocates have adapted their engagement with students and families to support new homeschooling arrangements, while following all CDC and DOH safety guidelines.
  • Visitations have been suspended at all Hillside campuses, but technology tools are providing enhanced access to telehealth and video-conferencing applications that connect youth, families and Hillside’s clinical experts.
  • Contingency planning has been developed to protect youth and staff in the event of a COVID-19 exposure among any member of the Hillside family.
  • Approximately half of all Hillside employees are now working remotely via telecommuting technology to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Employee benefits including flex time, EAP program supports and telehealth access have all been revamped to support our workforce during this challenging time.
  • Hillside’s multidisciplinary Pandemic Response Team is working round-the-clock on policies and procedures that clear the way for staff to do their best work safely and effectively.
  • Our leaders are working closely with county and state officials to provide leadership and guidance that informs the whirlwind regulatory changes required by the pandemic.

These adaptations and others are being constantly assessed for necessary changes in light of this evolving public-health crisis. The one unwavering element is the commitment of our people to Hillside’s mission, and providing vital services that our community has never needed more.

Nurse Manager Gives Vaccination Efforts a Shot in the Arm

Amy Patterson (left), participating in a recent vaccination event with Sarah Schultz, Pharmacist, Upstate Pharmacy; Jim Patterson, RN; Jamie Patterson; and Ted Kuzniarek, President and Owner, Upstate Pharmacy.

More Hillside employees, youth and families are getting their COVID-19 vaccinations every week, supported by an ongoing commitment from Hillside staff like Amy Patterson, a Senior Nurse Manager from West Seneca, NY.

Patterson has organized and held five vaccine clinics in Rochester and Buffalo to date. She’s had plenty of help, from other staff and leaders as well as partnerships with community organizations including Upstate Pharmacy, UR Medicine, D’Youville College and Fantastic Friends of Western New York. But if there’s been a Hillside vaccine event, it’s likely that Amy has been on the scene – behind a mask, of course.

So far, her efforts have helped ensure the vaccinations of more than 500 employees, youth and families and Hillside foster families. And that’s all on top of her regular duties supporting the health and well-being of individuals in Hillside group homes and day treatment programs in the greater Buffalo and Rochester areas.

“It’s a balance, but I like to be busy,” she says. “These vaccinations are so important – it’s great to be able to help.”

Patterson has even turned this work into a family affair: her husband Jim, also a nurse, and her daughter Jamie have pitched in at different vaccination events.

Thank you, Amy, for all you do!

Leveraging Technology Like Never Before

The regularly evolving role of technology in Hillside’s work dramatically accelerated, literally overnight, with the arrival of the pandemic. Use of Hillside’s TeleCare virtual conferencing tools has skyrocketed from approximately 60 sessions per month to 350 per day, enabling staff to maintain secure remote connections with youth and families. Meanwhile, nearly half of Hillside’s 1,800-person workforce successfully transitioned to remote-work scenarios in a matter of days. Leaders and staff are exploring how to apply lessons learned during this period to future service pathways.

For parents like April Coffey, whose son Anthony has received virtual support in remote sessions from his Hillside youth care professional during COVID, these innovations have made all the difference. “It would be difficult juggling all this and having to leave the house and meet the providers face-to-face,” she said.

You can support technology innovations that help connect youth and families to much-needed services. Donate Now