Doreen Kelly with Mercy Life Students and DCCC Instructor
Delaware County Community College, By Lance Knickerbocker: For the first time in Pennsylvania, and possibly in the nation, 13 care providers who are Deaf will become Nurse Aides through a unique collaboration involving Delaware County Community College, Mercy LIFE, the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and South Jersey, and the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Thanks to a United Way grant, the "Excellence in Care" program enables four Deaf staff members at a time from Mercy LIFE Valley View, first-of-its-kind PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) program located in a residential facility, to take classes as a small group cohort at the College with the help of two American Sign Language interpreters. After successfully completing the 133-hour program, students will test to be placed on the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry, a requirement for Mercy LIFE Valley View staff.
"The students are excited beyond belief," said Beatrice Agar, the College's nurse aide program coordinator, adding that the program is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. The first cohort of four students began classes in July.