Wis. Technical College System: EMT effort to lead to better pre-hospital care for seniors

Steve Teale, 608-266-0995

Kyle Schwarm, 608-266-0050

MADISON – The Wisconsin Technical College System has received a $12,000 grant to train at least 16 emergency medical technician (EMT) instructors on meeting the pre-hospital needs of seniors in distress. The grant, from the Helen Bader Foundation, Inc., will provide qualifications for at least one instructor in each technical college district to train other instructors on the topic.

“We are excited about this opportunity to expand our course offerings,” said Steve Teale, emergency services education director for the Wisconsin Technical College System. “With the help of this grant, we will be able to train at least one person in each of our sixteen districts as an instructor trainer for the Geriatric Education for Emergency Medical Services (GEMS) course. That person will be able to train more instructors who will be able to reach our current and future responders to be better able to care for the pre-hospital needs of our seniors.”

With the increased number of baby-boomers reaching their senior years, the number of ambulance responses involving elderly patients will continue to increase. Typically, more than 40 percent of pre-hospital emergency medical calls now involve patients over sixty years of age.

Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges provide more than 90 percent of all Emergency Medical Services (EMS) training conducted within the state and offers courses and programs that range from four-hour cardiopulmonary resuscitation courses to two-year Associated Degree Paramedic programs. With an enrollment of more than 46,000 students in EMS courses and programs annually, Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges continue to meet the training needs of emergency responders throughout Wisconsin.

“It is important that we recognize the special circumstances of our older adults,” said Daniel Bader, Helen Bader Foundation president. “The Wisconsin Technical College System is taking a key step in fostering an education program that will help our EMTs and paramedics work more effectively in emergency situations.”

The Helen Bader Foundation, Inc. supports innovative projects and programs that advance the well-being of people and promote successful relationships with their families & communities. The foundation is named for the late Helen Bader, a Milwaukee businesswoman who became a social worker, which gave her the opportunity to work with older adults and see the problems associated with the care of seniors first hand. The foundation awards an average of $12 million per year in grants, totaling more than $124 million in grants since it was established in 1992.

Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges offer more than 300 programs to community residents who receive two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas and short-term technical diplomas. Wisconsin’s business and industry turn to the technical colleges for customized training and technical assistance. One out of every nine adults in the state uses the 16 technical colleges for career preparation and continuing education each year. The WTC System Web site can be found at www.wtcsystem.org.