The Collaborative Education and Caregiving Program is a partnership between KSCIRC and Spalding University to create a pool of caregivers with education and training on spinal cord specific needs and challenges. Spalding faculty will provide hands-on instruction and application for Certified Nursing Assistant students with a clinical focus on identifying the warning signs of autonomic dysreflexia and performing bowel and bladder care. The program will pay for the cost of the training to better equip these students to fully meet the needs of people living with SCI. Patients will have the ability to recruit from the pool of trained caregivers.
This program is an innovative solution to the ongoing problem facing people living with SCI in the state of Kentucky; current regulations limit the ability of caregiving agencies from meeting the entire continuum of caregiving needs of people requiring bowel and bladder management. Laws in Kentucky prohibit anyone without a practical nursing level licensure (LPN) from performing medically invasive or skilled procedures (catheterization and bowel programs). The only options for persons living with SCI in Kentucky are to hire a nurse for bowel/bladder management in addition to employing a caregiver to meet their other needs (bathing, feeding, dressing, etc.) OR privately hire and train a caregiver on their own. Neither of these are acceptable solutions; the former is expensive and requires patients to contract with two separate entities to meet all their needs. The latter option puts an already vulnerable population at greater risk by hiring a caregiver that has limited or no medical background and no employer oversight. Caregivers hired outside of an agency setting also tend to be unreliable and cannot offer the flexibility or continuity of care that a team of caregivers employed through a medical staffing agency can provide.
The goal of this program is to improve the quality of life and reduce adverse medical events for persons living with chronic SCI by connecting them with trained, reliable, and affordable caregivers. The other outcome of this program will be to utilize the data collected over the grant funded time period to demonstrate to Kentucky lawmakers that caregivers receiving this specialized training can safely and effectively perform the entire continuum of caregiving tasks and improve outcomes for patients with SCI. The data on patient outcomes will be used to influence legislative/policy change by amending current caretaking regulations in Kentucky.
This program aligns with the Neilson Foundation's mission of improving quality of life by serving persons living with SCI in the area of rehabilitation. This program directly benefits persons living with SCI by removing barriers to setting up quality and affordable care as well as improving confidence and emotional wellbeing knowing that all caregiving needs are being met by a competent and knowledgeable caregiver. (CHN: COandI chn:wdg)