Nursing program expands to meet health care demands

Informational+Graphic

Antony Marchiando

Informational Graphic

DANIELA JETTE, Features Editor

City College has added two new courses starting Spring 2015 in response to the expected increase in demand for healthcare workers as the baby boom generation begins to age.

There are 76.4 million baby boomers in the U.S. according to the 2014 census bureau.

That’s 26 percent of the U.S. population.

In 2011, the first round of the baby boom generation hit retirement age. Now, about 3 million are expected to hit retirement age every year for the next 20 years.

“According to the Alzheimer’s Association more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s dementia, a number that is expected to triple by 2050,” said Ann Marie Kopeikin, vocational nursing director. “Which is why I decided to do this.”

By 2030, people age 65+ will account for roughly 20 percent of the U.S. population, a six percent increase on the current demographic.

About 60 percent of baby boomers have been diagnosed with at least one chronic condition.

Kopeikin was awarded a sabbatical during Spring 2014 in order to fully develop the courses that would train caregivers specializing in dementia care. She teamed up with the Santa Barbara Brain Trust Committee, a group of concerned citizens who sought to have a dementia care course added to the curriculum.

Arthur J. Rupe, a longtime supporter of the CNA program expanded his grant program to fully support the students for three years, covering all educational costs including uniform, books and more. In addition, the foundation will provide funds to have two Lab Teaching Assistants.

“You can’t learn to ride a bike without ever getting on one,” said Kopeikin. “That’s why I am adding a clinical component to the courses.”

The two new classes that will be offered this coming Spring 2015 are The Art of Caring for the Person with Dementia-Memory Care Basics and Compassionate Communication for Caregivers: The Art of Connecting in a Care Giving Relationship. In the classes, students will be working with an instructor in groups of five providing care to persons with dementia in various homes throughout the Santa Barbara area.

“We want to focus on patient-centered care, tending to the needs of each patient as an individual,” said Michelle Lehne, course instructor. “We want to provide a better quality of life, where they are continuing to do what is familiar to them rather than having them lay in bed.”

Lehne is a City College alumnus who completed the CNA program and is currently getting her Master’s.

The facilities students will be working with are Friendship Center, Vista del Monte, the Samarkand, Heritage House, Villa Alamar and Valle Verde. In the future they hope to expand their program.

The two courses are part of the “Dorothy D. Rupe Memory Care Program” and count for credits toward a Skills Competency designation and towards the Certified Nursing Assistant program.