South Louisiana Community College on Wednesday unveiled its new Home Health Training Lab at the college's Gulf Area Campus in Abbeville. The lab is a partnership with SLCC, LHC Group, and Myers Family Foundation that began in 2020.
The Home Health Lab features a state-of-the-art, immersive environment that replicates a patient's bedroom or living room and allows SLCC healthcare students to practice the knowledge, skills, and abilities of home care in a realistic environment. The lab is complete with an advanced computerized simulation mannequin that replicates a variety of clinical situations and responds to care given by its users.
"We are thrilled to officially open this laboratory at our Abbeville campus and expose our nursing students to a growing and critical component of healthcare," said Dr. Vincent June, SLCC chancellor. "Simulations have been incredibly important to training our students during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and it allows for a realistic experience to practice and enhance their skills before touching a human patient."
The creation of Home Health Labs across SLCC's rural campuses anchors the "Legacy" project, and the college is unveiling similar labs at its Ville Platte and Morgan City campuses this week. Later this year, three additional labs will be completed at SLCC's St. Martinville, Crowley, and Opelousas campuses.
"The launch of this lab offers an enhanced level of opportunity for members of this community who wish to pursue a career in healthcare," said Dr. Benjamin Doga, LHC Group's chief medical officer. "In-home care has increased in both importance and demand across the healthcare industry, particularly over the past year. Now, we can offer students a chance to learn and train in an environment that will hone the skills they need to help our community, our state, and our nation meet this growing demand."
The project will help to create a new workforce for a growing subset of the healthcare industry. By the end of 2021, more than 350 SLCC students will be trained in the home health labs.
Over the course of the five-year project, SLCC will create a large-scale scholarship program for healthcare students, drive the implementation of a home health credential, bring health training opportunities to SLCC's healthcare faculty, offer continuing education in home health, and establish endowed professorships to support the recruitment and retention of exemplary nursing faculty. Lastly, the project will create the state's first community college endowed chair, which will focus its activities on nursing and home health.
The $2.5 million funding behind the project is historic in itself, and represents the largest private investment in a community college in Louisiana.
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