Effectiveness of a combined web-based and simulation-based continuing education on home-care professionals' competence to evaluate older people's acute care needs in Finland

Health Soc Care Community. 2021 Oct 13. doi: 10.1111/hsc.13605. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Home-care professionals need competences to ensure that they evaluate their older peoples' health conditions, especially in acute care situations. This study aims to investigate the effectiveness of combined web-based and simulation-based continuing education on home-care professionals' competence regarding evaluating older people's needs for acute care. A quasi-experimental pre-test-post-test study was conducted with home-care professionals who were working in older people's care in Finland. Home-care professionals (N = 254) had participated in combined web-based and simulation-based continuing education in 2017-2019. Data were collected using a questionnaire developed for this study before (n = 171) and after (n = 83) the education. The data were analysed statistically. The mean competence score was 3.22 ± 0.51 before the education and 3.92 ± 0.57 after the education. Improvements were detected in overall competence and in all eight subscales. Improvements were highest in health assessment and consultation and the lowest in type 2 diabetes, but this was already the highest level of self-assessed competence in the pre-test assessment. The combined web-based and simulation-based continuing education was effective in increasing the home-care professionals' competence in evaluating older people's needs for acute care. Evaluating older people's needs for acute care should be embedded in curricula and continuing education programmes.

Keywords: competence; continuing education; home-care professionals; older people's care; self-assessment.