AHRC New York City’s Residential Services staff has exceeded the call of duty since the beginning of the Coronavirus crisis in New York City. Staff members in all five boroughs have worked long hours and embraced their status as essential workers in protecting the health of people living in AHRC NYC residences.
“It has been an amazing experience to watch many of our DSPs, management teams and nurses go above and beyond for the past two weeks. Speaking with everyone has been an honor as they’ve consistently focused on the care for the men and women we support,” Michael Weinberg, Vice President of Residential Services, said.
“The strength and heart that everyone is showing by simply showing up every day is the positive,” said Danielle Eilenberg, an Assistant Director with Residential Services. Danielle recently picked up personal protective equipment (PPE) provided by Senator Andrew Lanza, including more than 500 surgical masks.
“For all those who are lucky enough to be able to remain healthy, to have childcare and be able to come in, they are getting in and staying in and it is amazing. We have warriors in every single residence.” Danielle commended the staff members and management at Kensington, Lander, and Rossi residences for their exceptional work.
Collen Wharton, a Nurse with Residential Services, has been working nonstop to ensure the physical and mental well-being of residents and filling the bridge between caregiver and family. “Thankfully, with everything that has been going on, we are doing well. The persons we support in this residence are coping with our new normal and a person who was unwell seems to be slowly improving.”
Adjusting to a New Normal
Residents have had to adjust to drastic changes in their daily routines, with the support of staff. “The challenge in that regard is to find things to do to keep them engaged and pass the long hours while maintaining social distancing,” Collen said. “One of the ladies said to me that she was so happy that I was spending so much time with them, but was very upset and could not understand why she couldn’t give me a hug to show her appreciation.”
Collen explained that staff members have also adapted to a new normal, including longer shifts to ensure a safe ratio of staff-to-resident. “For me, there are a number of emotions that come to mind, tiredness, fear (of the unknown, of not being prepared), but I think that I’m just grateful that I am able to be there to support my teams,” she said. “I know it may sound corny, but I honestly believe that it is my purpose to be of service, and at this time, nursing is my primary function, but I also find myself wearing many other hats.”
“I also worry about my own family and continue to pray daily for their safety, while taking all the necessary precautions to ensure it. I know that we will make it through this, it’s just a difficult time and it will take a lot more sacrifice on all our parts,” Collen said.
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We are working nonstop to attend to the needs of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Your gift to the COVID-19 Relief Fund helps to purchase personal protective equipment, provide expanded medical and mental health services, increase our technical capacity, and so much more.
Please help us get through this unprecedented crisis. We will persevere and will meet these challenges, together.