UAMS and Jonesboro Celebrate Opening of Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Center

By David Robinson

The Schmieding caregiver training provides four levels of certification for paid caregivers and two family caregiver workshops for those who simply wish to be better caregivers to older family members.

A $3,015,565 grant in 2009 from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation to the Arkansas Aging Initiative is making the expansion of the Schmieding program possible, beginning with the site in Jonesboro.

The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program was inspired by Lawrence H. Schmieding, who had struggled to find competent, compassionate home care for a brother with dementia. In 1998, the Schmieding Foundation donated $15 million to UAMS to establish and construct the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Springdale. Working in partnership with the Arkansas Aging Initiative, a program of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, the center developed a unique, high quality caregiver training program specifically for older adults living in their homes.

St. Bernards Healthcare in Jonesboro is also a vital partner in establishing the local Schmieding program.

“We are pleased with our association with the Center on Aging – Northeast that has enabled Jonesboro to be the first to develop this new, exciting program,” said Kevin Hodges, vice president of Senior Services for St. Bernards. “St. Bernards welcomes this partnership as one more way for older adults to stay at home in a safe and comfortable environment.”

Those attending today’s ribbon cutting and grand-opening event in Jonesboro were Jeanne Wei, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and chair of the Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatrics, and Claudia Beverly, Ph.D., R.N., associate director of the Reynolds Institute on Aging and director of the Arkansas Aging Initiative, which oversees eight Centers on Aging across Arkansas.

Wei noted that the expansion of the Schmieding program is occurring at a critical time for Arkansas, which ranks seventh nationally in the percentage of people over age 60 (18.7 percent).

“We at UAMS are excited to be part of a program that is so important to Arkansas,” Wei said. “Elder care touches everyone, and it will become more critical as our baby boomers grow older and as an increasing number of aging adults opt for living at home rather than a long-term care facility.”

The Jonesboro center’s opening will be followed by Schmieding center openings in Pine Bluff this fall, Texarkana in early 2011 and West Memphis in mid-2011. The centers will be operated by staff from the Arkansas Aging Initiative’s Centers on Aging.

“Given the growing caregiving needs of our older adult population, this is an opportune time to replicate a proven caregiving educational program to help address these needs,” said UAMS’ Robin E. McAtee, Ph.D., R.N., the primary investigator for the Reynolds grant.

Beverly noted that the expansion of the Schmieding program will be built on a solid foundation established by the Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Arkansas Aging Initiative.

“We now have the infrastructure to help ensure a successful expansion,” Beverly said. “The Arkansas Aging Initiative provides unparalleled access to rural older adults and local health care and community networks.”

Since its inception, the Schmieding Center in Springdale has trained hundreds of home care workers and has been recognized outside of Arkansas. The Schmieding training method, which may be unique in the United States, has garnered visits to Springdale from representatives of the International Longevity Center and several prominent leaders in the fields of aging.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a 540,000-square-foot hospital; six centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has 2,775 students and 748 medical residents. Its centers of excellence include the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute and the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including nearly 1,150 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or