The ELDER Project: educational model and three-year outcomes of a community-based geriatric education initiative

Gerontol Geriatr Educ. 2011;32(2):164-81. doi: 10.1080/02701960.2011.572056.


The purpose of the ELDER (Expanded Learning and Dedication to Elders in the Region) Project was to address the needs of underserved older adults by providing worksite education to individuals who provide nursing care to older adults in community health centers, home health agencies, and long-term care facilities. Four agencies located in a Health Professional Shortage and Medically Underserved Area participated. Project staff conducted separate focus groups with administrators and staff at each agency to determine educational needs and preferences. Curricula from the Hartford Institute, End-of-Life Nursing Education Consortium, and Geriatric Education Centers were adapted to design unique curricula for each agency and level of personnel (licensed nurse or unlicensed caregiver). Activities included focus group meetings to tailor content to the needs of each agency, on-site educational sessions, and identification of an agency champion to sustain the program after the funding ended. A case-based simulation-learning approach was used in the final year to validate application of knowledge and to facilitate teamwork and interprofessional communication. Over 100 nurses and nursing assistants and eight administrators and allied health professionals participated over the three-year period of the project. Retention over this period, independent evaluations, and simulations demonstrated participants' ability to integrate best practices into typical clinical scenarios and revealed improved communication among care providers. Tailored on-site education incorporating simulation was an effective model for translating gerontological knowledge into practice and improving the care of older adults in these multiple settings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Benchmarking
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Community Health Services*
  • Curriculum
  • Educational Measurement
  • Educational Status
  • Feedback
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Geriatrics / education*
  • Health Services for the Aged*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medically Underserved Area
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Educational*
  • Nursing / standards
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rhode Island
  • Staff Development / methods
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult