A $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Georgia State Survey Agency will help nursing homes across the state better understand their residents’ needs and deliver more competent care.

Georgia State University’s Gerontology Institute will lead the three-year training and development program called “Building Resources for Delivering Person-Centered Care in Georgia Nursing Homes.”

The work will begin with a three-pronged, needs assessment of 374 nursing homes statewide and design interactive competency-based online continuing education training for nursing home staff, residents and care partners.

“Nursing homes do not always have adequate support and resources to improve the education of their staff and to sustain a robust continuous quality improvement cycle,” said Jennifer Craft Morgan, an assistant professor of gerontology who will help lead the study at Georgia State. “Residents of nursing homes can experience loss of autonomy, independence and loneliness when care isn’t tailored to their personal needs and preferences.”

The program will emphasize web-based information and resources for Georgia’s nursing homes; stakeholder engagement across the state, providing awareness education on culture change, person-centered care and living with dementia; and online continuing education training for nursing home staff, residents and informal care partners.

“Culture change has the potential to increase resident choice and empower staff, and is associated with improved care and outcomes for nursing home residents,” added Elisabeth O. Burgess, director of the Gerontology Institute. “Residents, families and staff all need to be empowered with resources and education.”

Burgess told McKnight’s Wednesday the grant is funded through civil monetary penalties collected by CMS.