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Posted 04/01/2020

National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certificate Offers Expert Training for CNAs and Caregivers

 NextStep , a mobile-based training and job placement startup aiming to expand the supply of qualified Certified Nursing Assistants to address the nation's caregiver shortage crisis, today announced the launch of an online certificate designed to improve the safety of the nation's more than 4.5 million long-term care workers, including Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and other caregivers, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The unique course will be offered in partnership with LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, and the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), an organization that represents nannies, house cleaners and care workers.

"The country's 2.5 million domestic workers are on the frontlines responding to a public health emergency of an unprecedented scale -- in ways that are often easy to overlook. They are stepping up -- just as they have always done -- to care for our parents, children and loved ones and to keep our homes clean, orderly and safe," said Ai-jen Poo, co-founder and executive director of NDWA. "This new program will equip caregivers with information and best practices to keep families safe and healthy as our communities respond to this crisis."

The National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certificate features COVID-19 expert Dr. Vin Gupta, a pulmonary and intensive care physician who is a medical faculty member affiliated with the University of Washington and a medical contributor to NBC News. Throughout the online course, CNAs and caregivers receive practical guidance from experts about how to keep themselves and those they care for safe during the pandemic. Drawing on up-to-date guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and other public health authorities the course prepares caregivers on infection control practices, personal protective equipment, changes to health and safety practices during the pandemic, and tips for managing stress and anxiety due to the COVID crisis.

Through access to self-paced, short-form videos optimized for mobile phones and practical assessments to ensure understanding, long-term care's frontline--CNAs, home care aides, family caregivers, and home health aides--will master essential skills and build the confidence needed to provide care safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Now more than ever, employees are integral to the care our nonprofit members provide," said Katie Smith Sloan president and CEO of LeadingAge. "Easily accessible and reliable information in the fight against coronavirus is crucial to ensuring the safety and well-being of staff and the older adults they serve. This program is a timely and welcome resource for caregivers, whether they work in nursing homes, in a client's personal residence or in another care setting."

NDWA and LeadingAge will share the online course with their members across the country, providing easily-accessible training for workers who are caring for and working with older people and other individuals at high-risk of COVID-19 illness. The NextStep certificate course will be offered free of charge to all workers in the NDWA network. LeadingAge member employees will be able to access the course at no cost through April 10 and after then will be provided discounted access to make this critical training as accessible as possible. Governmental agencies are also eligible for discounted access to the certification course. The course will be available to all caregivers, including family caregivers, free of charge through April 10.

"To stop the spread of COVID-19 and to keep seniors and families safe, it's critical that we educate the caregivers in our communities on protocols they can follow on-the-job to reduce the risk of contamination and infection," said Chris Hedrick, CEO of NextStep. "Winning the fight against COVID-19 means giving our caregivers the tools and training they need. We're proud to support these national organizations and the millions of workers they represent who are helping reduce community spread and protect our loved ones."

The certificate is delivered through a series of short-form videos that caregivers can easily access and consume through mobile devices while commuting or at home after the workday is complete. Enrollment in the National COVID-Ready Caregiver Certificate begins today. For more information, visit www.covidcert.nextstep.careers.

Coronavirus Expert Dr. Vin Gupta

Vin Gupta, MD, MPA, MSc, is an Affiliate Assistant Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington. Dr. Gupta’s primary research interest is in development assistance for health and clinical work in pulmonary and critical care medicine.

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