Examine whether an interactive online training approach to dementia care will significantly improve learner’s ability to prevent or deescalate aggressive behaviors among dementia patients.
Aggressive behaviors are not uncommon behavioral symptoms of dementia (Chan, Kasper, Black & Rabins, 2003). These negative symptoms lead to increased expenses (Beeri, Werner, Davidson, & Noy, 2002), decreased quality of life for the patient, particularly if chemical or physical restraints are used (Sink, Holden, & Yaffe, 2005), as well as present a danger to the patient, staff and other residents. Pharmacological treatments for aggressive behavior are typically used as a last resort as they lead to an increased risk of patient mortality and decreased patient quality of life. Improving training of those who interact with individuals prone to aggressive behaviors, may lead to a decrease in those behaviors. Additionally, improving training may also reduce job stress and increase job satisfaction as health care professionals become more confident in their abilities (Morgan, Stewart, D’Arcy, Forbes, & Lawson, 2005). Further, not all aggressive behaviors can be prevented. De-escalation of aggressive behaviors, or calming the patient down, more quickly could also lead to more favorable outcomes for patients and caregivers.
The current study aims to investigate if an interactive online dementia training course will improve caregivers’ ability to prevent or de-escalate aggressive behaviors among patients with dementia. The study will also investigate if this training can reduce job stress and increase job satisfaction among those who care for individuals with dementia.
A pre-post design will be used with randomization to treatment and control groups. Health care professionals will complete a qualitative questionnaire detailing all patient behavioral incidents or potential behavioral incidents for two weeks. Then they will complete a pre-test where they answer questionnaires on job satisfaction and job stress as well as scenario-based questions identifying triggers of problem behavior, and use verbal and non-verbal communication to prevent and de-escalate challenging situations. After the pretest, those randomized to the treatment group will complete the interactive online dementia training that provides practice opportunities to prevent and de-escalate aggressive behaviors and gives immediate feedback and scenario-based consequences. Those randomized to the control group will complete other required training courses. After the training, all participants will again complete the scenario-based questions, the qualitative questionnaire, and the job stress and satisfaction questionnaires. Study results will be analyzed using a repeated measures analysis of variance to determine the change in the dependent variables between pre and post-test.