TULSA, Okla. — With a rise in COVID-19 infections comes more concern for the elderly, who are in the higher risk category.
To manage that risk, Oklahoma’s nursing homes go through a 16-week bootcamp provided by the University of Oklahoma.
“We want to protect the residents and make sure that they live to see another year,” said Robert Cree, administrator of Colonial Manor in Tulsa.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health shows the 65+ age group accounting for 80% of deaths in the state. In the department’s latest weekly COVID-19 report, deaths in long term care facilities makeup 539 of Oklahoma's 1,544 death toll.
Those statistics drive OU’s new safety training.
“I think it’s an incredible opportunity to become more educated and to learn and to grow and to be able to protect our senior citizens,” Cree said.
The training covers some of the basics like preventing COVID-19 from entering nursing facilities. The team also answers testing questions and prepares for the moment the world has been waiting for.
“When we have a vaccine for this, we want to make sure we have distribution channels to our nursing home patients that are effective and fast,” said Dr. Lee Jennings, chief of geriatrics for the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Jennings said they launched the virtual training last week with 129 nursing homes represented.
OU’s Health Sciences Center is still recruiting nursing homes to train. Signups are accepted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 405-271-8166, or through dcn.ouhsc.edu.
Each participating nursing home will get up to $6,000 to use as they need. The program is funded by a federal grant.
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