Valerie Starkey takes care of senior citizens on Molokai. She works for Na Pu'uwai Native Hawaiian Healthcare System as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
"We have ten clients right now that we work with, and our maximum is usually at twelve," she said.
Starkey is one of Hawaii's 7,500 CNAs that care for seniors, many of them in their homes. They need to know the latest care techniques but they are busy working. So Kapiolani Community College made it easy.
"They do not have to come to a training facility but they can do it online when they have a break. We can cover the neighbor islands where there is almost no training whatsoever," said Cullen Hayashida, KCC's long term care coordinator.
KCC and California company Trilogy Integrated Resources teamed up on videos that teach CNAS the latest home care techniques. There are 23 30-minute classes on KCC's Kupuna Education Center's web site. The videos teach current techniques on a variety of topics including caring for a patient with Alzheimer's and helping manage medications.
"Caregivers tend to be terrible at taking care of themselves and getting what they need," KCC education coordinator Toni Hathaway said.
A test follows each course. CNAs earn certificates that some agencies count as continuing education credits.
"The courses are tight and compact. Objectives are clear. And skill sets are very relevant," Hayashida said.
Taking all 23 classes costs $90, or CNAs can take individual lessons. KCC is creating four more videos on caring for patients with diabetes.
"It just adds to a level of comfort and confidence that mom is being properly cared for," Hayashida said.
Family caregivers can also take the classes. Starkey has taken them all, for her clients' sake.
"Their life is in your hands, and it's really important that you make sure you give them the most quality care that you can," she said.