LAFAYETTE, La. - LHC Group, Inc., a national provider of in-home healthcare services, and South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) recently unveiled a new home health lab for college nursing students in training. The lab, located on SLCC's campus in Lafayette, recreates a residential bedroom, living room, and bathroom area where nursing students can practice skills in a home health environment.
"LHC Group is proud to again partner with SLCC to further the education of our future home healthcare clinicians and professionals," said Keith G. Myers, LHC Group's chairman and CEO. "Both LHC Group and SLCC are hopeful our collaboration will inspire a trend of making home health labs a standard on college campuses throughout Louisiana and across the country.
"Home healthcare is a dynamic and growing sector of the healthcare delivery system, as experts, analysts, and regulators look to us as a more efficient and effective way of providing the care needed for recovery or management of chronic conditions - and as more older Americans choose to receive care in the home setting," added Myers. "Nursing is a noble profession, and the market for well-trained home health professionals is already highly competitive. As that demand continues to rise, LHC Group's collaboration with SLCC is poised to prepare future nurses with the skills and experience needed to continue making home healthcare a high-quality care choice."
Initial development discussions with both LHC Group and SLCC produced a shared vision of creating a space resembling a residential environment that will allow nursing students to gain hands-on experience in the home health setting during their training. Using donated items such as hospital beds, nursing bags, educational materials, tables, chairs, walkers, and other clinical and personal items, SLCC now offers functional and realistic in-home care training scenarios for students in clinical degree and associate programs.
"A partner like LHC Group is critical for the college's ability to adjust the curriculum to meet workforce needs," said Dr. Natalie Harder, SLCC's Chancellor. "Adding home healthcare skills into our nursing programs helps ensure our graduates have the skills companies like LHC Group need as they seek to best serve their patients."
The lab is also the first step toward formalizing a home health curriculum within the registered nurse (RN) and licensed practical nurse (LPN) programs at SLCC. Starting with the spring semester 2020, SLCC will integrate in-home healthcare classes into existing RN and LPN program curriculums. Angie Begnaud, LHC Group's chief clinical officer, and Angela Fontenot, LHC Group's clinical development coordinator, are spearheading these efforts with SLCC's dean, Dr. Rebecca Harris-Smith, and Graci'Ana Breaux, Skills Lab and Simulation coordinator.
Leadership from both LHC Group and SLCC recently toured the new lab and emphasized the need for America's community colleges and universities to incorporate in-home care training into their nursing curriculums.