The Center of Aging and Community was awarded a contract by the Indiana State Department of Health to develop and deliver a training course for long term care staff. The CAC was created so that the University of Indianapolis could build a connection with the surrounding community. According to Senior Project Director of CAC Ellen Burton, they work with different community problems to recognize challenges or opportunities that are presented across that state and then bring resources to the university to find solutions for each of the challenges at hand.
“Nursing facilities are surveyed and regulated by the state health department,” Burton said. “Part of that process they ask questions like, ‘what does your emergency plan look like,’ ‘do you have all of this information so we anticipate that’ and when they don’t they get cited so we anticipate that citations for those kind of things should decrease substantially based on what we are able to provide. “
According to Assistant Professor of Public Health Kara Cecil, the CAC is going to focus on providing training to long term care facilities across the state. She said that they already have plans on how to most effectively implement their training
“We’re going to have them walk through table talk exercises, so that will give them some more hands on experience about how to actually implement an emergency action plan and mock through those steps,” Cecil said. “That’s a really good skill development opportunity for those administrators.”
Burton said that the process of earning this contract required her to work in a very collaborative team that consisted of Cecil, Adjunct Professor for Emergency Disaster Management and Leadership in Business William Reckert and Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Kevin Whiteacre. Cecil said the team discussed what resources the university had in order to assist them in creating the program and putting it into action.
Burton said that besides helping develop the CAC program, the main benefit is that it is an opportunity for the faculty of UIndy to teach members of the surrounding community and develop those connections.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to take a lot of the best practices that we know of and have been developed,” Burton said. “Not just in academia but kind of across the nation and throughout the field and put those [best practices] into a format where they can be much easily accessible and able to be implemented by long term care staff.”
The CAC is also partnering with the Department of Criminal Justice to secure the contract for training. Reckert said that this will be especially helpful for first responders. He said that this contract benefits the Emergency and Disaster Management courses.
“From the EDM standpoint it follows what the courses we’re teaching, what happens in real life,” Reckert said. “And this real life the emergency action plan it’s a planning process based on responses that have happened before.”
Although the program is still developing, Cecil said that as a future goal, they are looking to expand their resources. Cecil said the group is actually looking at submitting a similar proposal in Tennessee. Burton said he agrees that one of the main goals of the CAC is to expand and help as many communities as they can to prevent disasters.
“We hope this would be successful enough that it’s something we could implement in other states,” Burton said. “So certainly if it works here in Indiana, why not share? If we’re able to prevent any type of negative outcomes here, certainly we would hope that we would have opportunities to share in other states. So that it can be utilized as broadly as possible.”