Evaluation of an educational program for long-term care nursing assistants

J Am Med Dir Assoc. Jan-Feb 2005;6(1):61-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2004.12.001.


Objectives: To determine if an educational program can improve knowledge and attitude among ancillary staff on end-of-life care issues in a long-term care facility.

Design: A pilot study using a pre- and post-test design prior to and at the completion of an education intervention.

Setting: A long-term care facility in suburban Philadelphia that has 150 assisted living beds and 53 nursing home beds.

Participants: Long-term care ancillary staff including certified nursing assistants (called "care managers" at this facility), social workers, recreational therapists, and food service workers.

Intervention: The intervention was a novel educational program consisting of five in-service lectures with accompanying take home self-study modules for ancillary staff in long-term care entitled "Dignity in Dementia."

Measurements: Ancillary staff attitudes and knowledge on end-of-life issues in dementia were assessed with a knowledge and attitude questionnaire pre- and post-intervention. One-year follow-up questionnaires were administered to assess long-term maintenance of knowledge and attitude changes.

Results: Thirty-two ancillary staff completed the pre-intervention questionnaires. Twenty-nine ancillary staff completed the post-intervention questionnaires (90.6%). There was a significant change in the end-of-life knowledge level of the ancillary staff (P =.0270). Specifically, there was a significant change in one question dealing with dementia as a terminal disease (P = .006). There were also significant changes in the average attitude scores of the ancillary staff. (P = .0242). One-year follow-up revealed that both knowledge and attitude changes were maintained.

Conclusions: This pilot project demonstrates that a staff educational program on end-of-life care for dementia residents can improve end-of-life knowledge and attitudes among long-term care ancillary staff and that this improvement can be maintained for up to 1 year. This intervention is easily reproducible in the long-term care setting. This project is an important step in helping improve end-of-life care for dementia residents in long-term care settings by improving the knowledge and attitudes of their caregivers.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel / education*
  • Dementia / nursing*
  • Educational Measurement
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Nursing Staff / education*
  • Palliative Care*
  • Philadelphia
  • Pilot Projects