Educating the Families of Nursing Home Residents

A Pilot Study Using a Computer-Based System

Published in: Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, v. 4, no. 3, May/June. 2003, p. 128-134

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by Jules Rosen, Vikas Mittal, Benoit H. Mulsant, Howard Degenholtz, Nicholas G. Castle, Debra Fox

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OBJECTIVES: To enhance family participation in nursing home care through a Web-based system of interactive video training and interactive communication with the facilities. DESIGN: In this pilot study, focus groups guided the design and development of a prototype computer system for family members of nursing home residents. Its usability and functionality was tested with family members of diverse age and ethnicity. SETTING: Nursing home sites around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. PARTICIPANTS: The study comprised 18 family members who were primary decision makers for nursing home residents. Most were elderly females, and 33% were African-Americans. INTERVENTION: Computer-based education on dementia, agitation/aggression, and caregiver strategies. MEASUREMENTS: Knowledge was assessed with a 16 question pretest and posttest. Satisfaction surveys were completed. RESULTS: Knowledge of key principles of dementia care improved significantly (paired t test, t = 5.917, P < 0.0001). User satisfaction and ease of use received high ratings. CONCLUSION: Computer-based interactive videos can be used to educate family members of nursing home residents on dementia care. A complete curriculum of education and interactive bulletin boards for family inclusion in care planning are currently under development and will be tested to determine any impact on resident quality of life and quality of care outcomes.

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