Read updates on COVID-19 and Advocates.

COVID-19 and Advocates

Your source for COVID-19 information, resources, and program updates at Advocates.

May 26, 2020

General Updates

As COVID-19, more commonly known as Coronavirus, continues to be a concern across our country and the world, we are taking these concerns very seriously and working diligently to prevent the spread of the virus at Advocates. Find the most recent updates and information here. 


Advocates has met all the criteria required to perform Phase 1 services and procedures as defined in the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) Reopen Approach for Health Care Providers. Our Reopen Attestation was submitted on May 22, 2020. Learn more about the Governor’s 4-phased approach to reopening Massachussetts.(link is external)View Advocates' DPH attestation.

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Advocates Program Updates

  • Life Skills & Learning Center - Day services at Advocates Life Skills & Learning Center in Ashland are closed until further notice. We are now providing some services and support virtually.
  • Brain Injury Day & Community Services - Day services at Advocates Brain Injury Day & Community Services in Lexington are closed until further notice. 
  • Our Psychiatric Emergency Services are available virtually. If you are experiencing a mental health or emotional crisis, please call (800) 640-5432 to speak to an Advocates crisis clinician. We are available to help 24 hours a day, every day. Learn more.
  • Advocates Community Counseling - All services, including therapy and psychiatric medication appointments, provided through Advocates Community Counseling in Framingham, Marlborough, Harvard, and Waltham are virtual - through Telehealth by phone or Zoom - until further notice. There are no walk-in hours or appointments being run in office locations. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, please call our intake line at (508) 661-2038. 
  • The Living Room - Our 24-hour crisis alternative program, The Living Room, is closed for all in person visits and support groups. We will continue to support individuals experiencing emotional distress or a mental health crisis by offering 24-hour phone support. If you are struggling, please call (508) 661-3333 to connect with one of our caring certified peer specialists. 
  • Residential Programs - To help mitigate the spread of the virus, we ask that NO VISITORS are allowed in any Advocates Group Living Environments until further notice. Exceptions include Visiting Nurses, Home Health Aides, Cleaning Crews, Advocates Facilities/IT Staff for Emergencies Only, and Emergency Personnel.
  • Virtual Support Groups - Advocates is now offering several virtual support groups via Zoom. These include mental health support groups as well as social and recreational groups. Facilitated by members of Advocates Peer Specialist team, these support groups are open to anyone in the community, not just individuals served by Advocates, and participation is confidential. Learn more. 
  • Adult Family Care - MassHealth has allowed flexibility in how we provide Telehealth services to Adult Family Care members. These changes allow us to continue to enroll, support, and provide care to caregivers
    and members during this difficult time. 

Accepting Mask Donations

We are working diligently to obtain personal protective equipment (PPE) for the people we support in residential programs and all our staff members. We have received several generous donations from individuals and organizations, however we are still in need of more disposable and cloth masks to help protect all in the Advocates community. If you are able to, please consider making masks and donating them to Advocates. Use your own design or follow the tutorials below. Thank you in advance!

Masks can be mailed to:
Diane Newark
1881 Worcester Road
Framingham, MA 01701

Mask Resources:


Updates for Staff 

For the latest internal updates, FAQs, and resources, please check your Advocates email daily or login to The Connector.

Weekly Updates for Families

To receive updates via email, please subscribe to our email newsletters

Latest Update - 5/22/20 

As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we recognize the hardships of not being able to visit your loved ones during this time. We hope you have found little ways to connect with friends and family, whether it’s mailing a letter or video chatting.

Many of you have asked when visitors will be allowed in group living environments at Advocates. Unfortunately, visitation to group homes is still restricted by our state funders. They are hearing how difficult this is for you and your loved ones. We will notify you as soon as they believe it safe to lift the restriction. Read here for a full update that came out today from Commissioner Ryder to DDS individuals and families. 

Earlier this week, Governor Baker outlined his plan for moving Massachusetts through the next phases of living with the COVID-19 pandemic. As expected, the plan does not change anything for Advocates as an essential business. Our remarkable direct care staff will continue to support your family members and loved ones the same as they have since March.

We’ve seen the Advocates community come together in more ways than ever. Dozens of staff from our administrative and leadership teams have led car parades to celebrate the essential work of our direct care staff. View the photo gallery on Wicked Local Newton.

We have developed a team at Advocates that is meeting regularly to develop policies and practices that will guide us through the next phases of this pandemic. The safety of staff and people we support is our highest priority as we carefully and thoughtfully plan for any changes to our services made in June. 

As I noted in my last update, we continue to see more people in the Advocates community recovering from COVID-19. As of today, 27 people we support have recovered and 35 staff have recovered and returned to work. This is great news.  

There’s also good news on the supply front. An ample stock of masks will sustain Advocates for months ahead to help protect the safety of individuals and staff in our residential homes. We’re beginning to see other supplies like hand sanitizer and cleaning products become available through our regular suppliers.

Remember we are all in this together. Your letters and phone calls have meant a lot, and we continue to share them with the appropriate staff. As always, please continue to reach out, and follow Advocates on Facebook or visit to stay updated. 

Previous Updates

5/22/20 - Read update here. 

5/22/20 Updated COVID-19 guidance and information for DDS individuals and families.

5/11/20 - Read update here. 

4/25/20 - Read update here. 

4/14/20 - Read update here. 

4/4/20 - Read update here. 

3/27/20 - Read update here. 

3/25/20 - Updated COVID-19 guidance and information for DDS individuals and families from Commissioner Jane Ryder:

3/19/20  - Read update here. 

3/16/20Coronavirus Update for DDS Individuals and Families from Commissioner Jane Ryder.

3/11/20 - Read update here.

Resources for Families

Information on COVID-19

Downloadable Tools

Community Resources

  • Visit Behavioral Health Partners of MetroWest for a list of resources including housing, food security, employment issues, and more.

  • Advocates is offering several Virtual Support Groups via Zoom, led by members of Advocates Peer Specialist team. These include mental health support groups as well as social and recreational groups, and are open to anyone in the community. Participation is confidential.

Daily Resources and Activities

Resources in American Sign Language (ASL)