In partnership with Israel’s Ministry of Health, Home Front Command and Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), more than 30 nursing students from the Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) have begun working in nursing homes across Israel with the aim of curbing the spread of coronavirus.

The students, who are enrolled in a JCT program—ranked first in the nation in its academic discipline by the Israeli Ministry of Health—are performing COVID-19 tests for the elderly and nursing-home workers, in addition to functioning as a supervisory body for other areas of patient care.

As approximately one-third of Israelis who have died from coronavirus have been residents of nursing homes, Israel’s Defense Ministry and the IDF Home Front were recently assigned to provide these facilities with operational assistance during the pandemic.

“We are proud to use our nationally renowned nursing program to provide a lifeline for at-risk Israelis and institutions during these difficult times,” said Professor Freda Gantz, Dean of JCT’s Faculty of Life and Health Sciences. “In accordance with the instructions of the director of Nursing at the Ministry of Health, we have trained our students to operate in the field and to play a significant role in curbing the spread of coronavirus in nursing homes.”

The initiative is not the first time JCT’s Department of Nursing has been called upon for emergency relief work during the coronavirus outbreak. Last month, at the Health Ministry’s request, the college’s nursing students were trained to treat COVID-19 patients with ventilators in their home settings in order to alleviate the strain on Israeli hospitals.

“Elderly Israelis are arguably the most vulnerable people in the country right now, especially those living in nursing homes,” said Miri Mirishvilli, a JCT graduate student majoring in geriatric nursing, who also works as director of nursing services and geriatrics at Clalit Health Services in Ashdod. “After work hours, each employee at a nursing home returns to their personal life at home. Unfortunately, we have seen that if just one of these workers gets the coronavirus, they can infect many of their colleagues and patients. Therefore, this project aims to stop the spread of the virus in homes and professional teams, ultimately protecting the elderly and connecting them with the best possible treatment.”

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