The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has awarded Presbyterian Homes & Services and Minneapolis Community & Technical College (MCTC) a $400,000 grant to develop and execute a three-year apprenticeship program for nursing assistants that could transform how long-term care is delivered in Minnesota and ultimately, establish the vision for tomorrow’s long-term care centers. This program is also funded by the Department of Human Services Performance Incentives program for $5.1 million. The apprenticeship program will be conducted in collaboration with the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, the University of Minnesota School of Social Work, Ridgewater College, with oversight from researchers at the University of Minnesota Center for Aging Services Management.
Sharon Klefsaas, Director of Care Systems and Executive Director of Service Strategies for Presbyterian Homes, believes the grant will reveal an entirely new perspective on how services should be carried out. “Traditional long-term care is driven by the ease of delivery of services, much like a hospital. This grant will enable the State of Minnesota to conclusively determine if another approach – an approach that puts residents firmly at the center of all services – will measurably improve the health and wellness of those we serve.”
Over the next two months, this approach to long-term care will be rolled out across all Presbyterian Homes & Services skilled care centers. At nine of their 13 skilled care centers, the grant will provide funding to train more than 600 nursing assistants in the Liberty program. At the end of three years, they will be certified as household apprentices. Certification will require more than 150 hours of class time and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training under the supervision of a mentor – a traditional apprenticeship structure. Key components of study include nutrition and culinary care, environmental and support services, memory care, wellness and fitness, activities, and finally, vital involvement which teaches observation, communication and interaction skills to unveil how residents want to lead their lives.
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