Caregiver Academy

With generous support from the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies has created the Caregiver Academy, a new model of clinical education to care for underserved families and improve the health of chronically ill children.

The Caregiver Academy leverages the extensive resources of the school’s International Academy for Clinical Simulation and Research at the Simulation Hospital. Here faculty and nurse scientists are developing a novel curriculum to teach and reinforce concepts of disease management and medications, health care navigation, and self-advocacy for low-income family caregivers of children with asthma.

The Caregiver Academy will empower family caregivers of children with asthma in the South Florida community through simulation-based education and educational reinforcement via telehealth home visits. Faculty will work with doctoral nurse anesthesia students in conducting weekly telehealth sessions that support family caregivers where they need it most—at home, with technology linked directly to smartphones.

This new model of clinical education not only bridges health care education with patient outcomes; it also focuses on an often-overlooked area in our current health care system—that of caregiver education. A great deal of research supports simulation as a superior pedagogy, but we rarely use it to educate caregivers. The Caregiver Academy builds on that opportunity. It also builds on the opportunity to help students understand best practices in “web-side manner” and the use of current and future technology to improve patient outcomes.

In the present clinical education model, students usually see patients just a couple of days in a row, which limits their exposure to the full healing process. The Caregiver Academy emphasizes educational models that better prepare students to build long-term relationships with patients and families and see them through the health trajectory. Ultimately, the Caregiver Academy will empower family caregivers to be more confident and comfortable in caring for their child with asthma, improve child outcomes, and influence policy to cover expenses related to family caregiver education. Effective interventions will have the additional potential to be adapted and expanded to serve family caregivers of individuals with different chronic diseases. 


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