UNM-LA Introduces Personal Care Attendant Course

Courtesy photo

UNM-LA Introduces Personal Care Attendant Course

From Press Release

UNM-Los Alamos will offer a Personal Care Attendant course beginning October 3, 2016. The course, PCA 101, will meet on Mondays, 9:15-11:15 a.m., and Fridays, 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. through December 16. Students who participate in this 5 credit course will receive a UNM-LA Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the skills and competencies at the end of the course.

Personal care attendants can assist chronically ill or injured patients with daily tasks, helping them to remain at home, live with greater independence, and avoid hospitalization. Many people, both patients and their family members, rely on in-home care to provide crucial support and enhance quality of life. Recently, a member of the Los Alamos community, Barbara Stoddard, made a donation that provided seed money to help start the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) program and will provide scholarships to some of the students who pursue this program. Stoddard was inspired by her personal experience of providing care for her husband, Steve, before his death in 2013. After reflecting on her experience, Stoddard decided that she wanted to help develop future caregivers for our community and she reached out to UNM-LA.

The curriculum for the Personal Care Attendant course is modeled after a similar program at UNM-Valencia. UNM-LA recently hired Melanie Colgan, R.N., to provide oversight and to teach in the program. Colgan holds a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education, and has previously taught in the nursing program at Santa Fe Community College.

As many Los Alamos residents choose to stay here after retirement, it is expected that the need for caregivers in our area will continue to increase. Nationwide, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, the Census Bureau projects that by 2025, the number of Americans age 65 and older will hit 66 million, up 38% from 2015. Meanwhile, home health-care aides and personal-care aides are among the nation’s fastest-growing occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Simon, Ruth. 2016, September 10. “Senior-care business booms for franchisersThe Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://www.wsj.com.) Students who pursue the Personal Care Attendant program will develop the skills needed to meet this emerging need in the workforce. 

To learn more about the numerous programs at UNM-LA, visit losalamos.unm.edu.