Mental Health Facility Precautions & Actions During COVID

Hillside is taking immediate actions to protect our clients and staff. Using the guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and the Georgia Department of Public Health, the Coronavirus Task Force, comprised of Hillside’s leadership staff, meets several times per week to discuss and implement changes to programming, staffing and clinical care of our clients. Our campus access has been limited to only essential employees to reduce the risk of exposure at this time. We appreciate our families, visitors, referral sources and staff complying with the updated, and ever-adapting, policies and regulations as we protect our campus. Some staff not directly working with our clients will continue to work remotely while those providing direct clinical care and support are working on campus.

Below are some changes and updates to our campus and programming:

On-Campus Actions


Hillside continues to admit clients to our Residential, Day Treatment, and Community Programs. Our Admissions Team is screening new referrals prior to admission to assess for symptoms of illness, fever, recent travel, and exposure to other individuals that may have coronavirus symptoms whether at the client’s home, school, community or other agency.

All new residential clients will admit to one of the bedrooms on the Observation Cottage and each will receive a COVID test upon admission. New admissions will transfer from the Observation Cottage to their assigned cottage when their negative COVID result is available within 24-48 hours of test.

Tours and Visitors

At this time, we are not allowing visitors or tours of our campus in order to limit the risk of exposure to clients and staff.  Please inform and orient yourself to campus thru our website, social media and video tours. Admissions will be happy to explain our campus and programming via phone.

Residential Treatment

Currently, we are not allowing family members on campus for our residential program post-admission. This restriction will directly affect weekly family sessions and visits, which now can occur via telehealth. Visits can be arranged via Zoom, Facetime, phone and other available apps. Some of the individual therapy and sessions with the physicians are being conducted through electronic means. Therapeutic passes have been canceled at this time. Our education program is operating on a modified schedule with clients in classrooms half of each day. Each cottage residential clients and staff are to maintain social distance from another cottages on campus. There will be no interactions between cottages.

Hillside has set aside an observation cottage for new admissions and separate quarantine unit for clients who exhibit any symptoms and is being tested for infection. Any positive cases will transition to the quarantine unit within Observation Cottage or discharge home for continued care.

All staff providing services on campus are required to wear KN95 mask in all buildings and when within 6 feet of any person, child or staff. All staff are also expected to practice physical distancing, wear masks in public, and avoid gather in large groups when they are not on duty or off-campus. Daily screening for symptoms, including temperature checks twice daily, of staff and clients are performed and reported to Director of Nursing, Assistant Medical Director, or Medical Director.

All indoor community space has been treated with Enviroshield for greater surface protection, the indoors Gym, dining hall, and school building. Everyone will sanitize their hands upon entry and exit from these spaces.

Family Visitation

While increased cases of COVID-19 are spreading across our country and the CDC recommending no travel during the holidays, we at Hillside are making every effort to keep your children and our employees safe. This focus on safety often requires me to make very difficult decisions and this is one of those times. Effective November 28, our weekend on-campus visitation schedule must be halted as one step toward keeping our campus safe. Visitation will occur November 21 and 22, but will not be offered going forward. We will monitor infection rates in our community to determine if and when on-campus visitation will be resumed. We understand and value the vital role of family and visitation is important to your child and your treatment team, so we will continue to offer virtual visitation using Zoom or Facetime and encourage you to participate using these means.

COVID Outpatient Treatment Protocol

Experience DBT Day Program

Our Day Program has returned to in-person programming on June 15th, 2020. Our Day Program participants and staff are required to wear masks on campus and maintain social distance. All admissions will be required to have a negative test in the past 7 days with documentation of proof. The client and family of client anticipating admission to quarantine once obtaining their test and before admission. Our Day Program clients will not enter the main residential campus and the ancillary experiential therapeutic services (art, recreational therapy, horticulture therapy) will be provided in the Day Programming space instead. Each group will not exceed 10 clients in order to maintain social distancing protocol.

Community Program

At this time, Hillside’s community program has returned to offer in-person services as well as continued option of telehealth sessions via Zoom. For in-person services, the therapists, the clients, and the clients’ families must follow a strict infection control procedure which includes health screening, physical distancing, and wearing of KN95 masks.

Infection Control Procedures

Hillside is monitoring daily our procedures for Infection Control and maintaining a safe and clean campus. We have additional housekeeping staff to increase the frequency of cleaning practices on campus. Staff and clients are provided hand sanitizer and wipes to assist with wiping down surfaces.  Dietary staff are ensuring the dining hall surfaces are disinfected throughout the day and updates to food service are made in response to infection control risks. Nursing is checking staff and clients daily for temperatures.

How You Can Help

As we all move through daily disruptions and many unknowns, please consider a financial gift to Hillside. Your support helps us sustain vital services for children and families during this especially challenging time of need.

Contact Hillside with Questions

Please contact our admissions office if you have further questions or concerns.  We appreciate all families, referral sources, and friends accommodating and adjusting with us as we navigate through the coronavirus outbreak.


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