Loras Social Work Awarded Grant to Connect with Long-Term Care Residents

Robert Waterbury

Social work majors at Loras College will be providing long-term care residents with personal interaction through new technology thanks to a new grant from the McDonough Foundation.

As a result of the ongoing quarantining at facilities such as at Stonehill/Assisi Village and Luther Manor, residents at these facilities are facing even higher risks of isolation and loss of connection with loved ones. It has been well documented that social connection is a critical factor in maintaining physical and mental well-being.

Social work majors at Loras College seek to mitigate long-term care residents’ critical need for social connection by partnering with these facilities to provide residents attention and care.

At Loras College, social work majors will partner with residents at local nursing homes to provide attention and care while developing beginning skills in relationship engagement. Due to social distancing guidelines, iPads acquired through the grant will allow consistent weekly connections.

As an example of the assistance this grant will provide, before the pandemic, a student in Loras’ Human Behavior in the Social Environment class, met with a resident of one of the two facilities for ten one-hour sessions throughout the semester to learn about the importance of human dignity, each other, carry on a purposeful conversation about life stages and experiences and then, eventually, learn how to create closure at the end of the semester. The grant allows those interactions to continue despite social distancing and increased health and safety measures.

The mission of the James B. and Melita A. McDonough Foundation is to promote charitable, educational and health-related activities and to especially provide such opportunities for children and families in Dubuque and the greater Eastern Iowa area, which includes Iowa counties of Dubuque, Delaware, Clayton, Jones, Jackson, Fayette, and Buchanan. The Foundation offers support to local non-profit organizations that provide educational opportunities, human and social services, and healthcare for children and their families.

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