Eden’s adult services nurses keep participants safe and healthy through a challenging year

This month, we’re celebrating Eden Autism’s nurses. At the school and across our Adult Services locations, our nurses have worked tirelessly to keep our participants safe throughout the pandemic. Join us this month as we recognize their incredible commitment to individuals with autism.

Everything seemed to abruptly change when the pandemic first hit our area last March. Everything, that is, except the unwavering dedication of Eden’s adult services’ nurses.

“It’s a pandemic, but they [the participants] need us,” said Adult Services’ Nurse Trisha Davis-Caldwell. “So we are here to help them.”

A nurse stands in front of a man with autism, who is smiling, before giving him a COVID-19 test.

Eden Nurse Trisha Davis-Caldwell works with another Eden staff member to help a participant receive their routine COVID-19 test.

From conducting COVID-19 testing to assisting with the administration of vaccinations, Trisha and her colleagues Jennifer Dyas, Lead Nurse and Cynthia Sefa-Dankyi, Nurse, as well as Sarah DellaRosa, Coordinator of Health and Social Services and Nicholas Mondello, Senior DSP and Medical Floater, worked with residential staff to keep participants as healthy as they could throughout the pandemic. When DDD guidelines temporarily closed the day centers, the nurses traveled to group homes to care for participants, provide medication, and do routine COVID-19 testing.

“Eden’s adult services nurses not only continued to care for our participants during this challenging time, but they did so with compassion, determination, and courage,” said Eden Autism President & CEO Michael Decker. “We are grateful for their commitment to the men and women we support.”

Jennifer began working at Eden in August and quickly familiarized herself with the participants and staff as she traveled to group homes with the other adult services’ nurses to provide care. She joked that while swabbing someone’s nose during a COVID test was certainly a unique way to meet someone for the first time, traveling to different Eden locations helped her get to know a lot of participants and staff rather quickly.

“I was able to spend a lot of time getting to know the participants, their diagnoses, and what was going on with everybody,” said Jennifer.

Whether it was a house visit or jumping on a FaceTime call to go over a medical issue, the nurses’ main priority and focus was always keeping the participants healthy.

Two women in masks pose for a photo in a nurses office.

Nurse Trisha Davis-Caldwell and Lead Nurse Jennifer Dyas

“Throughout all of this, you just want to make sure nobody got sick,” said Trisha. “We were still here working. We didn’t take time off or work from home. We always came into the building, went to the group homes to check on the participants. We did what we could to keep everybody safe.”

In addition to keeping participants physically healthy, Eden health services staff also prioritized their mental well-being.

“Obviously, we’ve all been through it — being at home and not being able to do our day to day routine,” said Sarah. “We understand it, and we still have a hard time with it. For our guys, those changes really affected them, so our staff got very creative in making sure that they still had a typical day.”

Even long after the pandemic has ended, Eden’s adult services’ nurses will continue to care for Eden’s participants with rigor and compassion.

“We always do our best to provide medical needs for the participants. We want everybody to be safe and healthy,” said Cynthia.