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Development of Educational Modules to Enhance Care of Aged and Dying Inmates

Development of Educational Modules to Enhance Care of Aged and Dying Inmates

The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world and the demographics of the prison inmate population are shifting and aging. Many older adults are serving extended sentences and will age and die in place — making geriatric and end-of-life care an essential educational foci for prison staff. Consequently, resources are needed to adequately prepare prison staff to address this growing concern.

In a recent publication in Public Health Nursing, a research team led by Dr. Susan Loeb from Penn State University and including Klein Buendel (KB) Senior Scientist, Dr. Valerie Myers, reports on the development of educational modules to enhance the care of aged and dying inmates in prisons. The article describes the strategies used to “set-up” the Enhancing Care for the Aged and Dying in Prisons (ECAD-P) educational modules. “Set-up” is the first of four phases in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Framework for Going to Full Scale, which served as the conceptual framework for this study. Objectives achieved during the Set-up phase include: (a) establishing an approach for infusing the intervention into the target system; (b) identifying the product that needs scaling-up; and (c) determining what will be accomplished in the full-scale phase. Also, program buy-in within the given context and identification of the test sites, as well as support by early adopters, are essential.

The design approach for the educational modules included an environmental scan, a modified Delphi study, and a usability study.

An environmental scan provided a foundational understanding of the complex, contextual factors that impact correctional settings in the United States. Specifically, the environmental scan of diverse correctional settings helped to determine current educational approaches, education and learning preferences of personnel, and the technological capacity to deliver computer-based educational modules. Gaining knowledge was essential for the targeted development of modules that are tailored to address the health needs of the growing numbers of older inmates, many of whom will remain incarcerated through their end of life.

The Delphi process uses iterative group facilitation to forge reliable consensus on the opinion of experts through a series of structured questionnaires or rounds. The goal is to secure expert judgment based on experience. A Delphi survey was conducted early in the Set-Up phase to identify essential geriatric content for integration into the new prototype learning modules. The outcome was a reliable consensus on essential geriatric content for inclusion into the newly rebranded ECAD-P modules. An Expert Advisory Board reviewed the findings and validated the results.

For the usability assessment, the research team collaborated to design and program three media-rich, interactive computer-based prototype modules designed for the corrections context. The prototype, containing three modules, was built using Axure development software. The prototype was self-contained on a laptop computer. Each module had learning objectives, content delivered through multiple interactive features (for example: drag and drop, hover, click and reveal, video) and a final comprehension check quiz. Usability and acceptability testing were assessed following an established protocol examine navigability, detect problems, observe time spent solving problems, identify problem severity, and develop recovery strategies. After usability testing, the participants completed the System Usability Scale, a validated tool for assessing the usability and acceptability of technology-based products. Testing was conducted with 16 participants at two state correctional institutions in one mid-Atlantic state.

A full description of the methods, results, conclusions, and limitations of this study, as well as the implications for public health nursing, can be found in Public Health Nursing. This research was funded by a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to KB from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (AG049570; Dr. Susan Loeb, Principal Investigator). Other collaborators/coauthors include Dr. Janice Penrod, Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis, Dr. Rachel Wion, and Brenda Baney from Penn State University; and Sophia Strickfaden from Johnson & Wales University. KB’s Creative Team produced the ECAD-P prototype modules.

Developing and Testing E-Training to Enhance Care of Aged and Dying Prisoners

Developing and Testing E-Training to Enhance Care of Aged and Dying Prisoners

Klein Buendel (KB) collaborator, Susan Loeb, PhD, RN, described the development and testing of computer-based training for corrections staff on caring for aged and dying prisoners in a poster she presented at the National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC). The conference was held in Las Vegas, NV from October 20-24, 2018.

The Enhancing Care of the Aged and Dying in Prisons (ECAD-P) training program is a collaboration between KB and Penn State University. The research team, which includes KB Senior Scientist, Dr. Valerie Myers and KB’s Creative Team, built upon electronic file training materials that had been developed at Penn State University, and transformed them into interactive computer-based training that is relevant to a broad spectrum of correctional staff.

Approaches employed in an earlier phase of this research included: (a) engagement with an Expert Advisory Board, including representatives from corrections, geriatrics, and hospice; (b) a Community Advisory Board constituted by corrections officials and returning citizens; (c) an environmental scan conducted with corrections training officers and information technology staff; (d) a modified Delphi survey with geriatric and corrections nurses; and (e) initial in-person usability testing of an early version of three training modules. In a second phase, usability testing of six modules was conducted in a large jail in the Northeast and a State Correctional Institution in the Midwest.

Analytic approaches employed throughout this research included content analysis, geriatric content identification, and acceptability, feasibility, and usability evaluation using qualitative observation approaches and the System Usability Scale. The Phase I study established proof of concept, produced three prototypical modules, a drafted a detailed specifications document for full program development in Phase II. Phase II included refinement of Phase I learning modules and development of three additional modules. Phase II assessments showed that the program is acceptable, feasible, and usable in corrections.

The NCCHC poster concluded that correctional settings across the United States face growing demands to better address the health care and management needs of aged, chronically ill, and dying inmates. The ECAD-P computer-based training holds promise to contribute to better preparation of correctional staff to effectively care for these populations.

This research was funded by a Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant to KB from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (AG049570; Dr. Susan Loeb and Dr. Valerie Myers, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborators/coauthors in addition to Dr. Loeb and Dr. Myers include Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis from the Penn State University College of Nursing.

Insights on Computer-Based End-of-Life Training in Prisons

Insights on Computer-Based End-of-Life Training in Prisons

Dr. Valerie Myers, KB Senior Scientist and SBM Fellow, presented a poster on the Enhancing Care of the Aged and Dying in Prison project at the 39th Annual Meeting and Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM), April 11-14, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

The prison population is aging at a rapid rate and is expected to continue to do so into the foreseeable future. As a result, prisons in the United States are facing increased demands in caring for aged, chronically ill, and dying inmates. Despite advances in the free world, best practices for managing geriatric issues and life-limiting or terminal illness have not been adapted for use in corrections settings. Implementing a training program addressing the health issues related to this population could mitigate legal risks and enhance care. However, the paramount focus on security makes technological advances available in the free word inaccessible inside prison walls.

Lessons learned from prior development, implementation, and evaluation research targeted at enhancing care for the aged and dying in prison led to the development of a media-rich interactive computer-based learning prototype, Enhancing Care of the Aged and Dying in Prison (ECAD-P). ECAD-P contains six modules that address end-of-life and geriatric care issues in prisons. The purpose of this aim of the project focused on a small-scale evaluation of ECAD-P. Specifically, in-person usability testing was conducted at one state department of corrections and one large city jail. Twelve participants evaluated the user interface, ease of use, and perceived barriers of the prototype, so that the research team may further understand user preferences, optimize the learning modules, and prepare for implementation.

A summary evaluation of the computer-based prototype training includes the participants’ impressions regarding the user interface of the computer-based training modules, beliefs about ease of use of the computer-based training modules, perceived barriers regarding the use of the computer-based training modules. Findings will be used to refine the computer-based training modules for large-scale usability testing targeting 12 prisons and jails across the United States. Lessons learned from this usability study and the larger scale usability study will inform future dissemination of the product. The intent of this educational product is to extend our reach to promote quality of health and health equity, as well as narrow the gap in health disparities experienced by a group that has often been described as “the least among us.”

This research project is funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (AG049570; Dr. Janice Penrod, Penn State University, Principal Investigator). Collaborators included Dr. Valerie Myers, Sophia Strickfaden, and Tiffany Jerrod from Klein Buendel, and Dr. Susan Loeb, Dr. Erin Kitt-Lewis, and Rachel Wion from the Penn State University College of Nursing.