EIHAB DSP Spotlight: James Omieri
James Omieri has worked in the human services field for two decades. He joined EIHAB’s outstanding Pennsylvania team as a Direct Support Professional (DSP) in 2017, overseeing the care of individuals living in one of EIHAB’s several residences in the Lehigh Valley. He also served as a manager there.
Currently, James works the overnight shift, tending to any needs individuals may have. In the morning, he’s by their side to assist with bathing, grooming, and breakfast preparation if needed. He also makes sure individuals take their medication so they can remain safe and healthy.
Prior to his current schedule, James worked the day and evening shifts, enabling him to forge a strong bond with the individuals. “I got to learn their likes and dislikes, favorite foods, and different activities that they enjoy,” James explains.
Outings to shopping malls, restaurants, movie theaters, and sporting events are among the many recreational activities that individuals have enjoyed. “Anywhere they want to go in the community, we’re there,” James says. “They get to choose and do something different every day of the week. It’s not about us, it’s about them.”
EIHAB’s Pennsylvania location also allows individuals to connect with nature. “We have a zoo nearby, tons of parks, even a fish hatchery,” James points out. He loves watching individuals embrace life’s simple pleasures, like listening to the sound of trains as they approach the local railroad station. During Musikfest, a popular festival in Bethlehem, individuals bought souvenirs and enjoyed food and music.
In more challenging times, James helped to alleviate cabin fever at the height of the pandemic by taking individuals for a ride around the neighborhood in the agency van (safety protocols were, and still are, always followed). In more “normal” times, community excursions remain among James’ favorite memories at EIHAB, with one outing resonating in particular. “We took a ride to a shopping center that was about 45 minutes away,” James recalls. “One of the individuals was especially excited to be there. He was laughing and smiling all the way home.”
In addition to enabling wonderful community inclusion, James has also helped individuals strengthen their independent living skills. He’s guided individuals as they successfully perform a number of household tasks, including setting the table, loading the dishwasher, folding clothes and putting them away.
Around the residence, James just wants individuals to feel comfortable and know that it’s their home. “It’s their place. DSPs are just there to foster as much independence as possible,” he says.
Collaboration is key. “Teamwork and good communication with colleagues can help shape someone’s day,” James says. “If an individual had trouble sleeping, it’s up to the overnight staff to alert the morning shift that the person might be tired that day.”
A positive attitude is also essential to succeed as a DSP. When helping individuals to achieve their goals, James always maintains a great attitude. “Be calm, patient, and proactive to help build trust and relationships. Positivity affects everything and helps you get to where you need to go,” he points out.
For James, that includes attending school to become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), another ideal job for someone with patience and compassion like James. He was inspired to attend college by his daughter, who’s currently in school. He and his wife also have a son.
James is hoping to balance an LPN career with his current DSP profession and judging by his outstanding motivation and commitment, we’re sure that he will succeed!
Thank you James for your great work and dedication at EIHAB!