South Louisiana Community College unveiled its new Home Health Training Lab at the college’s Gulf Area Campus in Abbeville this week. This lab is the result of a partnership with LHC Group and Myers Family Foundation called “A Legacy of Caring in the Home and Community” that began in 2020.

A ceremony to cut the ribbon took place at the Gulf Area Campus in Abbeville on 5/12/21.

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. 

ABOUT ACADIANA’S COMMUNITY COLLEGE
South Louisiana Community College is a comprehensive community college that operates campuses in Abbeville, Crowley, Franklin, Houma, Lafayette, Morgan City, New Iberia, Opelousas, St. Martinville, and Ville Platte. The college serves more than 15,000 students annually and offers an array of academic programs. Students earn associate degrees, technical diplomas, certificates, and industry-based certifications. It is ranked 14th among the Top 100 Associate Degree Producers as determined by Community College Week. 

ABOUT LHC GROUP, INC.
LHC Group, Inc. is a national provider of in-home healthcare services and innovations, providing high-quality and affordable healthcare services to patients in the privacy and comfort of the home or place of residence. LHC Group’s services cover a wide range of healthcare needs for patients and families dealing with illness, injury, or chronic conditions. The company’s 32,000 employees deliver home health, hospice, home and community-based services, and facility-based care in 35 states and the District of Columbia – reaching 60 percent of the U.S. population aged 65 and older. LHC Group is the preferred in-home healthcare partner for 350 leading hospitals around the country. In 2019, the company was named to the inaugural Forbes list of “America’s Best-in-State Employers.” 

ABOUT MYERS FAMILY FOUNDATION
Born out of and supporting St. Landry Parish and the wider Acadiana region, Myers Family Foundation aims to protect and enhance causes related to healthcare education, elder care, and Catholic charities.

Originally published in Abbeville Meridional, 5/12/21