UNC’s Center for Aging and Health and the University of Louisville (UofL) Trager Institute are one of eleven recipients of a two-year Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Department of Health and Human Services grant. HRSA dedicated a total of $2,450,107 to fund ‘FlourishConnect,’ a collaborative project for UNC-CH and UofL. This funding will be used to create and deliver COVID-19-specific education and training to the nursing home workforce, its residents, their families, and caregivers.
‘FlourishConnect’ is based on the trademarked FlourishCare™ model developed at the UofL Trager Institute. This collaborative project will build on lessons learned from the National Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network (NNHCAN). Using their combined expertise with their respective Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Programs (GWEPs), UofL and UNC-CH will expand services to an additional 50 nursing homes in both North Carolina and Kentucky (100 total). A major aim of the program is transforming nursing homes into age-friendly health systems. It will promote age-friendly nursing homes focusing on several major COVID-19-related issues:
- Special COVID-19 related needs of nursing home residents, especially the dementia population.
- Needs of the nursing home workforce such as post-traumatic stress due to COVID-19 among staff.
- COVID-19 vaccine access and hesitancy, especially in vulnerable rural communities and among nursing home staff.
- Ways to strengthen the long-term care industry during the COVID-19 pandemic by addressing gaps in COVID-19 specific health care of nursing home residents.
Carolina Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program staff includes Jan Busby-Whitehead, MD, Project Director; Ellen Roberts, E., PhD, MPH, Evaluation Director; Cristine Henage, MPS, EdD, Project Assistant Director; and Jennifer Hubbard, BA – Program Manager, NC.