Just Care for Dementia in Prisons

Just Care for Dementia in Prisons

Prison systems in the United States face sharply increased demands in caring for older people living in prisons. Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias (ADRD) are age-related diseases. Prison health, social, and security staff perceive they lack the skills and knowledge essential for identifying dementia and supporting people who are incarcerated and living with ADRDs.

A research team from Klein Buendel and The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) are launching a new research project to address ADRD care in prisons. The project is entitled “Computer-based Learning to Enhance ADRD Care in Prison: Just Care for Dementia.” The effort is being led by Dr. Susan Loeb from the Penn State College of Nursing and is being funded by a Phase I STTR grant to Klein Buendel from the National Institute on Aging (AG078103; Dr. Susan Loeb, Principal Investigator).

The mission of Corrections is to provide care, custody, and control for incarcerated individuals. Prisons are required by law to provide adequate care for growing numbers of older people who are incarcerated—a group who are disproportionately at risk for ADRD. This Phase I feasibility project focuses on research and development of highly interactive computer-based learning modules, for prison staff and people who are incarcerated and serving as peer caregivers to promote an integrated systems approach for enhancing the care of people with ADRD in prison.

The project will transform best practices in ADRD care into media-rich, highly interactive, computer-based educational module prototypes and conduct in-person usability testing of the learning module prototypes with corrections staff and peer caregivers to evaluate the user interface, ease of use, and perceived barriers in order to refine the product and optimize implementation in prison settings.

Dr. Loeb is a Professor in the College of Nursing and the Department of Medicine at Penn State University. Her research collaborators include: Dr. Donna Fick, a Professor in the College of Nursing and the Director of the Center for Geriatric Nursing at Penn State University; and Dr. Barbara Walkosz, a Senior Scientist at Klein Buendel. The ADRD modules will be programmed by Klein Buendel’s Creative Team.

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