The Origin of the Schmieding Program

The Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program was developed in Northwest Arkansas out of one family’s need for qualified home caregivers.  After struggling to care for his ailing brother, Lawrence H. Schmieding recognized the need for a formal training program specifically designed to prepare individuals to care for older adults in the home. In 1998, a generous donation from the Schmieding Foundation to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences funded construction of a Center on Aging in Northwest Arkansas.

Since its inception in 1999, the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education’s Caregiver Training Program has prepared hundreds of individuals (both paid and family) to care for older adults in the home as well as other healthcare settings.  The program has earned a reputation for producing quality caregivers and has received an official endorsement from Dr. Robert Butler, father of geriatric medicine.  Distinguished visitors to the center include: William Thomas, MD, Marie Bernard, MD, Marion Somers, Governor Mike Beebe, Monica White, Naomi Feil, Senator Blanche Lincoln, and Susan Reinhard, RN, PhD., FAAN to name a few.

The Schmieding Replication Project

Generous funding from the  Donald W. Reynolds Foundation made it possible for the Schmieding Home Caregiver Training Program to be replicated throughout the state of Arkansas.

In 2007 members of the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation visited the Schmieding Center for Senior Health and Education in Northwest Arkansas and realized the potential impact the program could have if it were available throughout the state.

The existing infrastructure of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Arkansas Aging Initiative program with its eight, strategically located, Centers on Aging, was determined to be the perfect framework to support replication of the Schmieding program.

In 2008, The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation provided UAMS with a one-year planning grant to develop a proposal for replicating the Schmieding program.   During this time a leadership team was formed with members of the Schmieding Center and UAMS and a detailed community analysis of proposed sites for phase I of the project was conducted.  The leadership committee selected the communities of Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, and West Memphis as sites for phase I of the project.

In June of 2009, the phase I proposal was funded and the University received $3,015,565 from the Reynolds Foundation to replicate the Schmieding program.   Jonesboro Arkansas was the first site to open and started training caregivers in April of 2010.  Pine Bluff followed in October of 2010, and then Texarkana opened in January of 2011.

In the summer of 2011 grant personnel were invited to submit a proposal for a phase II grant which included nearly 8 million dollars to continue operations at the existing sites and open four new sites in Ft. Smith, Little Rock and El Dorado.  Work on Phase II began in July of 2012 and by September of 2013, all eight sites were operational.

Since the program’s inception, a total of 4,115 individuals have been trained and 8,645 attendees have been registered to various classes (4,750 for certified classes, 1,795 for continuing education and 2,100 for family workshops).