Giving Back for Geriatric Care
Harry Vickers Contributes to UAB Center for Aging
|Kellie Flood, Harry Vickers, and Linda Jones|
“I was admitted to the UAB Highlands Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit for a day, and the nurses, doctors, and staff were so nice to me,” says Harry Vickers, a retired Birmingham businessman who recently made a contribution to the UAB Center for Aging for the professional development of nurses in geriatrics. “They mentioned they were creating a floor for geriatric care, and I know any time you start a fund, more money is always needed.” The vibrant 93-year-old says he made the decision almost immediately to donate, because he knew geriatric nurses didn’t have extra funds available.
“We would not be able to accomplish our goal, to provide the geriatric nurse training absolutely required to provide high-quality care to our greatest generation, without this support from Mr. Vickers and others like him,” says Kellie Flood, M.D., an assistant professor in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care. “Mr. Vickers’s extremely generous gift has allowed us to send six nurses to state and national geriatric conferences. Two of these nurses were supported by the Harry G. Vickers Scholarship to travel to the Nurses Improving Care for Health System Elders Conference and present their work in ACE unit development and educational outcomes. This was the first professional-development opportunity of this magnitude these nurses have ever had. They are now leaders in ongoing ACE-unit nursing-education programs. We must train and equip nurses and other health-care providers in geriatric care if we are to be ready to care for the Baby Boomers. To date, it is well documented that all providers, including nurses, do not receive enough geriatric care training in school. We must fill in that education gap and equip nurses to in turn teach geriatric care to their colleagues and students.”
Linda Jones, D.N.P., C.R.N.P., a nurse practitioner in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, agrees. “Mr. Vickers recognized the vital role that nurses have in patient care and outcomes,” she says. “His generous contribution supports our program by helping with conferences, educational workshops, continuing nursing education, and scholarships. It has been an absolute blessing to have the resources he provided to support our program, especially in the current economic downturn. We could have all the passion in the world for excellence in geriatric care, but without the resources to pay for educational programs, they would not happen. Mr. Vickers is a humble and unassuming gentleman. He did not seek out recognition for his philanthropy but wanted to help make the ACE unit more visible to others. We are all very thankful for his friendship and support. We believe that, as his contribution plays a fundamental role in improving nursing care for hospitalized elders, exponentially he is touching the many lives of the patients and families whom we serve. It is an incredible legacy.”
“I’m hoping the funds will eventually be enough to set up a whole wing, doing it floor by floor,” Vickers says. He feels it’s important to support UAB and geriatric care. “It’s absolutely the thing to do. I encourage it. We’re all going to get old one day—even me.”
Maintaining the Momentum / Summer/Fall 2009