Providing high quality healthcare for Minnesota veterans is a top priority for the state — and now this effort will get a boost, thanks to a new partnership between the Minneapolis Veterans Home (MVH) and St. Catherine University.
Starting this semester, students from St. Kate’s Henrietta Schmoll School of Health will work in the home's 24-hour nursing facility to gain hands-on experience and awareness of veteran’s healthcare issues, while learning more about future employment at MVH and caring for veterans.
“After a year of planning and hard work we are excited to have the first students at the Minneapolis Veterans Home this fall,” said Penny Moyers, associate provost and dean for St. Kate's Graduate College and School of Health. “We are grateful for this partnership to create an innovative learning community.”
Within this partnership, St. Kate’s faculty and students will also be conducting clinical research studies around known challenges in long-term care for veterans — starting with the topic of sleep. They will then present their findings to staff at the Minneapolis Veterans Home, along with recommendations designed to enhance sleep quality for their residents.
The Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs provides care to veterans in five facilities across the state. The Minneapolis Veterans Home is the largest, and provides long-term and skilled nursing services to nearly 300 veterans and their spouses. Also located on the Minneapolis campus is a domiciliary program that provides board and care-level services to over 40 veterans, and an Adult Day Health Care Program serving over 15 senior veterans per day.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for both of our organizations to advance our commitment to high-quality healthcare for Minnesota Veterans,” said Larry Shellito, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs. “The vision of this partnership was not only to provide a valuable learning environment for students, but also to foster connections between students and Veterans, showcase the Home as an employer of choice to our next generation of healthcare workers, and provide increased care for our veterans.”
Over the next 12 months, the partnership will expand to involve students from other St. Kate’s health programs such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, exercise science, nutrition and public health. Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, under the direction of a new clinical education liaison it will appoint, will share knowledge and practices that will prepare the students to better serve aging adults, specifically in the areas of skilled nursing, dementia and mental health.
In addition to overseeing the five veterans homes, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) helps eligible veterans and families secure state and federal benefits, and provides programs and services relating to higher education, benefits, burial, claims, outreach and employment. The MDVA is considering similar partnerships to address staffing shortages at its other veterans homes located in Fergus Falls, Hastings, Luverne and Silver Bay.