Vaccine Team Makes House Call to Some of Our Region’s Most Vulnerable

(Pictured) Monique Stull, RNII (left), delivers vaccine to a St. Joseph resident, Joey, while a St. Joseph staff member Maria Robbins, QIDP, enables a video visit between Joey and a loved one.

Cincinnati Children’s recently delivered vaccine, comfort and hope to 29 adult patients and families at St. Joseph Home, a nonprofit that provides assisted living for people with complex disabilities.

The state’s phase 1B vaccination schedule includes Ohioans with developmental disabilities. Like other children’s hospitals, we have been hosting clinics on our campus to vaccinate members of this vulnerable population, as identified by the Department of Developmental Disabilities.

When it came time to schedule the residents of St. Joseph—all of whom use wheelchairs for mobility, and some of whom are our patients—it quickly became clear that it made more sense to go to them. It was also clear that it would require a strong collaborative effort between Cincinnati Children’s and St. Joseph.

Collaborating to Do the Right Thing

The vaccine delivery idea was met by enthusiasm on all fronts. It didn’t take long to gain leadership acceptance, followed by coordination with appropriate agencies, including the Governor’s office, Ohio Department of Health, and Hamilton County DDS.

We formed a team with St. Joseph, with Cincinnati Children's represented by Patient Services, Pharmacy, and Information Services. The team worked out details, including vaccination process, enabling real-time access to EPIC documentation, and addressing specific resident needs.

On January 30, four Cincinnati Children’s employees traveled to St. Joseph, including two Home Care nurses— Monique Stull, RNII, and Michelle Rudisell, RN—as well as Pharmacist I Tyler Nuss, RPh, and Patient Services AVP Susan Wade-Murphy, RN.

Because vaccine supply is so limited, and it requires specific storage and handling protocols, Tyler ensured none was wasted by preparing it onsite for Michele and Monique to administer. Because the Pfizer vaccine that was used requires two doses, the team will return on February 20 to complete the vaccination process.

An Emotional Day of Hope for Residents and Families

Pandemic visitor restrictions have limited how often families can visit residents at St. Joseph, and staff knew families would want to share this moment, so they set up video visits so families could see their loved one receive the vaccine.

“It was indeed an emotional day for St. Joseph Home, as it represents a first step out of this grueling season,” wrote Dan Connors, CEO of St. Joseph Home, in a gratitude-filled letter to the vaccination team. “I personally spoke with a parent on the phone today who was in tears at the chance to witness their child receive the vaccine. This is a parent who normally visits their child every day and routinely takes their child home on the weekend. During the pandemic, however, they have been limited to two hourly visits a week in our designated visitation area, and even that was after several months of not being able to visit at all. For her, this is hope.”

The residents responded as well.

“We could feel the excitement and affect change of our residents who have not had that much excitement with new faces and activities in over nine months,” said Susan Wiley, MD, Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and also the medical director at St. Joseph Home.

Wiley continued, praising the work of the team: “I was struck by the fact that the Cincinnati Children's team was as grateful as we were. They were grateful to be able to help and appreciated the staff of St. Joe’s who are so committed to caring for this most vulnerable population. This was the moment that my heart welled up (and perhaps my eyes a little). I am forever grateful to all of you.”

Collaboration in action (l-r): Monique Stull, RNII, St. Joe employee Lisa Sorge, LPN; Michelle Rudisell, RN; and St. Joe employee Melissa Rogers, RN.

Michelle Rudisell, RN (left), prepares to deliver vaccine to a St. Joseph resident Zara Allender with the help of St. Joseph staff.

Pharmacist Tyler Nuss, RPh, prepares vaccine to be administered.

The Cincinnati Children's team (l-r): Monique Stull, RNII, Michelle Rudisell, RN, and pharmacist Tyler Nuss, RPh

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