Distance Learning: A Strategy for Improving Incontinence Care in Nursing Homes

MSW, Department of Sociology and Gerontology, Miami University, Upham Hall Room 396, Oxford, OH 45056-1879, USA.
The Gerontologist (Impact Factor: 3.21). 08/2009; 50(1):121-32. DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnp126
Source: PubMed


This article describes a distance learning model designed to help nursing homes implement incontinence management best practices. A basic premise is that translating research into practice requires both a feasible intervention and a dissemination strategy responsive to the target audience's needs.
Over 8 months, nurse supervisors from 14 nursing homes in nine states learned how to implement prompted voiding during monthly 60- to 90-min teleconferences. Supervisors completed field assignments that required them to implement prompted voiding. Descriptive evaluation data were collected using a resident data form, pre- and posttraining quizzes, and a project evaluation survey.
Nursing home staff attended an average of 6.5 teleconferences; on average, three staff members typically attended each teleconference. Eighty-nine percent of all survey respondents (N = 28) reported that they (a) would participate in a similar project and (b) would recommend the course to colleagues. Average scores on the quiz increased 16% (p < .05) from pre- to posttraining. Collectively, participating facilities assessed a total of 261 incontinent residents and reported maintaining 117 (44.8%) on prompted voiding, for an average of 10 residents per facility.
The intervention implementation results were promising for a management strategy often described as challenging to maintain. The distance learning model worked as expected. Given its strengths and relatively few weaknesses, it appears to be a feasible, effective, and low-cost strategy for translating research into nursing home practice.

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