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An award-winning program for direct caregivers in long-term care settings soon will deliver its lessons beyond state borders, thanks to a $333,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Health Services’ Administration on Aging and a matching $111,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Division of Quality Assurance (DQA).

Developed by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Center for Career Development and Employability Training (CCDET) and the DQA in 2005, the Wisconsin Caregiver Project aims to prevent neglect and abuse of the elderly and disabled.

The new grants will allow the program to reach more Wisconsin caregivers, and the materials also will be available online for facility trainers. Additionally, caregiver training staff from UW Oshkosh will attend two national conferences to reach out to a national audience.

The training materials, consisting of eight reality-based scenarios of caregiver misconduct available through live training or on DVD, won a Promising Practices award from the Association of Health Facility Survey Agencies in 2008. Topics include “Keys to Professional Caregiving,” “Supporting the Professional Caregiver,” “Conducting Internal Investigations of Caregiver Misconduct” and “Responding to Challenging Situations.”

“In Wisconsin alone, more than 2,000 allegations of abuse, neglect and misappropriation of property were reported in long-term settings in 2008, and 188 cases were substantiated,” said Department of Health Services Secretary Karen Timberlake. “Caregivers provide a very important role in society. Our training gives them the opportunity to learn more about the requirements of quality care giving, even in difficult situations with sometimes difficult clients. Providing those skills is likely to reduce many incidents of abuse and neglect.”

As of October 2008, 541 facility trainers and supervisors have attended training sessions and estimated that they would train more than 75,000 direct caregivers in Wisconsin.

“This program benefits not only Wisconsin, but also caregivers and those receiving care across the country. We are grateful to Sen. Herb Kohl for making this grant possible through his support in the budget process and to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Division of Quality Assurance, for the generous matching funds,” said Chancellor Richard H. Wells.

Added Pat Nichols, interim director of CCDET, “Our staff looks forward to continuing to create and share training with the facilities and trainers in Wisconsin and to be able to reach a national audience with the excellent materials that have been produced so far. The training we have provided over the past four years has been well received, and working with the Wisconsin DHS, DQA, has been a rewarding collaboration.”