Cincinnati Children’s and St. Joseph Home Collaborate to Vaccinate Vulnerable Residents with Complex Disabilities

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Cincinnati Children’s recently delivered vaccine, comfort, and hope to adult residents of St. Joseph Home, a nonprofit that provides support systems for people with complex disabilities.

COVID-19 led to many state restrictions for medically fragile residents of St. Joseph Home, including being isolated from their families and loved ones for long periods of time.

“Having our son Matt, who has cerebral palsy and other medical conditions, get the vaccine is a really important step for us,” said parent Rob Steele. “It’s the first step towards normalcy.”

Rob’s wife, Barbara, added: “The quarantine has been hard on everyone, but Matt and the other residents don’t understand. Their lives have changed, but you can’t explain to them why.”

The state’s initial vaccination schedules included Ohioans with developmental disabilities.

Cincinnati Children’s has been hosting clinics on-site to vaccinate members of this vulnerable population, as identified by the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities.

When it came time to schedule 29 residents of St. Joseph Home, all of whom use wheelchairs, Cincinnati Children’s mobilized a small team to travel to Sharonville. That spared the residents from having to be transported through the cold and snow.

“Having the clinic on our campus made it so much less challenging logistically and less disruptive for our residents,” said Dan Connors, president & CEO of St. Joseph Home. “The vaccinations represent the ability for our residents to get back to doing things they love to do."

The vaccinations took coordination with appropriate agencies, including Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, the Ohio Department of Health, and Hamilton County DDS. Last month, Cincinnati Children’s formed a team with St. Joseph to work out details, including vaccination process, enabling real-time access to EPIC documentation, and addressing specific resident needs.

On Jan. 30, four Cincinnati Children’s employees, including a pharmacist and two home care nurses, worked with care teams at St. Joseph to administer first doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The same group followed up to give second doses on Feb. 20.

“The residents were excited and happy because they hadn’t been out and around new faces,” said Susan Wiley, MD, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Medical Director of St. Joseph Home. “By getting the vaccine, we hope it leads to more opportunities for residents to get back to spending time with their families and with the community.”

Contact Information

Shannon Kettler