OMAHA- The Nebraska Health Care Foundation has been awarded $250,000 from the Donald E. Nielsen Foundation.
These funds are designated for the University of Nebraska Medical Center Long-Term Care and Critical Access Pandemic Project. This project will enhance COVID-19 pandemic preparedness in Nebraska’s rural nursing facilities and critical access centers through a multi-faceted approach. Policies and procedures will be provided to rural nursing facilities and critical access centers to support them with COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and minimize mortality rates in these settings.
“We take care of the most vulnerable population on our long-term care and assisted living campuses. Aggressively implementing strong infection control processes will save lives,” said Russ Peterson, CEO of Nye Health Services.
Long-term care facilities will partner with expert mentors to implement these measures and evaluate their greatest needs.
“Our model is based on a practice used by the infection prevention arena for over 30 years. Infection preventionists are assigned a mentor through their professional association and the mentor becomes that “lifeline” for vetting ideas, strategies, and seeking consensus,” states Sharon Medcalf, Director of the UNMC Center for Biosecurity, Biopreparedness, and Emerging Infectious Diseases.
In addition, this project will provide ongoing support and education to rural Nebraska assisted living and nursing facility providers through a COVID-19 call center.
“There is so much information, from a variety of sources, and it changes rapidly. It is helpful to have a team of experts watching for these recommendations and delivering them to the facilities in a uniform manner. The live mentorship and COVID-19 call center add great value in a very stressful situation,” states Dr. Beacom, Director of Rural Health for UNMC College of Public Health and Co-Primary Investigator for this project.
“Dr. Beacom has been instrumental in guiding us through the implementation of policies and procedures in response to COVID-19. His expertise and on-going support have provided our team a tremendous amount of confidence in our pandemic preparedness,” said Ron Gross, President of Nye Health Services.
The adequacy of personal protective equipment supplies within rural Nebraska assisted living and nursing facilities will also be evaluated as part of this project. Assistance will then be provided to secure the necessary items.
“The residents in our rural assisted living and nursing facilities are vulnerable and they are our true heroes. Former coaches, teachers, Sunday school teachers, our family, friends… you name it,” said Beacom. “They deserve our very best effort to protect them during this pandemic and I am grateful for the generous gift from the Donald E. Nielsen Foundation in support of these efforts.”
“This project falls very much in line with the education-focused mission of the Foundation,” said Heath Boddy, President, and CEO of the Nebraska Health Care Foundation. “We are grateful to be part of a project that will get critical support to those who are working to protect Nebraskans from COVID-19. These efforts would not be possible without the generosity of the Donald E. Nielsen Foundation.”
“The Foundation is pleased to provide funding for this innovative effort that will serve as a vital resource for the on-going battle against the COVID-19 virus in rural Nebraska nursing facilities and critical access centers. The Project will undoubtedly help save lives in the future,” said Clarence E. Mock, President of the Donald E. Nielsen Foundation, a private, non-profit foundation dedicated to encouraging personal achievement, service to the community, and society.