How the crisis affects social services in Riga

Riga provides 54 various social services to its residents and at this crisis situation 11 are provided remotely and 15 services are terminated because it is impossible to provide them remotely.

There are regular on-line meetings with home care providers who provide home care to more than 6,000 clients at a time. So far, the home care service has been provided without any special complications or delays. There are relatives or clients who want to limit the number of caregiver visits or temporarily refuse care.

It must be borne in mind that carers are older people.There is more concern in institutions regarding accommodation – how to act in situations when a client or staff falls ill. It is impossible to isolate a client without hospitalization. There is regular and intensive communication with service providers about different scenarios. In order to motivate carers to work and to ensure equal access to the use of public transport, a proposal has been made that home care workers in contract organizations could use public transport free of charge. A proposal has been prepared asking to allow the persons with group 3 disability also use public transport free of charge, because there are quite a lot of  persons with group 3 disability working in the institutions of social service providers.

There are guidelines for home inspection of families at risk prepared and guidelines for home care providers. It is necessary to address the issue of lunch for schoolchildren while studies are taking place remotely. The sites where to place families, employees, if isolation is needed, are to be identified (it has already been done initially). There are identified hotels and hostels that would be willing to cooperate if the premises to isolate residents are needed. Service providers work with their staff so that they do not panic and operate as correctly as possible as possible to control the virus. Amendments to legislation have been prepared to ensure that the municipality can purchase social services and other services disregarding the Public Procurement Law. The Crisis center is being consulted to find solutions  in order to help service providers (employees) who have encountered COVID problems.

The Riga Social Service office  (hereinafter – RSS) provides face-to-face services only in urgent cases. RSS social work specialists also call their clients, including seniors and families with children, and  make inquiries about how they are doing, discuss the situation, and also find out if any support is needed.All Territorial centers provide on-site information to customers and accept documents submitted in person, observing all personal safety and hygiene measures. Inspections at the place of residence are carried out in cases where there are high risks to the safety,  life -threatening  risks to children or adults, as well as in exceptional cases, then the employees are observing all personal safety and hygiene measures.Commissions, working groups, etc. organize their sessions and meetings remotely or in the form of surveys, using videoconferencing, conference calling or other information technology tools.

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