Helmsley Charitable Trust gift to impact cardiac care across state

by Robb Crouch, University of Nebraska Foundation | May 11, 2020

Image with caption: UNMC was able to purchase 100 mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) devices and distribute them to more than 20 hospitals across Nebraska and in part of eastern Iowa.

UNMC was able to purchase 100 mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) devices and distribute them to more than 20 hospitals across Nebraska and in part of eastern Iowa.

Providing emergency cardiac care equipment to Nebraska hospitals in response to COVID-19 and providing training to emergency health care workers is the focus of a $1.5 million grant to UNMC from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

UNMC's Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning (iEXCEL) and Simulation in Motion-Nebraska (SIM-NE) partnered with the University of Nebraska Foundation to secure the grant.

With this grant, iEXCEL and SIM-NE will be able to oversee the purchase of 100 mechanical cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) devices and the distribution of them to more than 30 health care organizations across Nebraska and in part of western Iowa.

iEXCEL also received two devices for use for training of students, residents, faculty and health care providers. The funding also provides support for the SIM-NE program to provide virtual training events for EMS agencies and critical access hospitals on the best practices in responding to medical situations involving COVID-19.

"This gift will help save lives across the state of Nebraska," said UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. "Disseminating these devices throughout the state, especially at a time when front-line responders are under immense pressure due to COVID-19 concerns, will provide an immediate, positive impact in times of dire medical crisis. We are grateful to the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust for this gift."

According to the Stryker Corporation, manufacturer of the LUCAS chest compression system, this device provides benefits to both the person experiencing the cardiac arrest and the resuscitation team by delivering high-performance, continuous chest compressions with less strain, micromanagement and risk for caregivers.

"These devices are vital, because we don't want front-line health care workers to choose between trying to save a patient or risking exposure to themselves and others to the coronavirus," said Walter Panzirer, a trustee for the Helmsley Charitable Trust. "LUCAS has been a proven, effective tool in saving lives during cardiac arrest, and having more of them available during this pandemic will save even more lives, including those of the doctors, nurses and other health care workers."

The Helmsley Charitable Trust awarded more than $4.7 million to organizations in five states to provide 367 LUCAS mechanical CPR devices to hospitals. It partnered with medical facilities in Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming to ensure the devices were in place during the pandemic and that they remain in use after the pandemic as part of a center's cardiac care system.

"The great support from the Helmsley Charitable Trust helps so many hospitals and the ability of their medical staff to save lives, so this is big," said Doug Dekker, SIM-NE program manager.

Ben Stobbe, assistant vice chancellor of clinical simulation for iEXCEL, said, "Because of this generosity and partnership, UNMC purchased and will deliver LUCAS cardiac devices into the hands of the medical staff at hospitals in a matter of weeks rather than months."

SIM-NE provides mobile statewide training services using four, 44-foot-long, customized trucks for the instruction of rural EMS providers and health professionals in hospitals. Since the coronavirus outbreak, it's shifted its training to online and video sessions to protect its instructors and trainees while still providing critical educational training.

SIM-NE was initially funded with a $5.5 million grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust as well as other private contributions to the University of Nebraska Foundation.


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Patti Carstens
May 11, 2020 at 9:25 AM

Wonderful News!!! Go Sim-NE