Williamsburg, Va.Riverside Center for Excellence in Aging and Lifelong Health (CEALH) is pleased to announce that it earned an Honorable Mention in the Commonwealth Council on Aging’s Best Practices Awards for its “Microlearning: Little Message with a Big Impact” program.

Each year, the council, which advises the Governor on issues affecting the 1.6 million Virginians age 60 and older, acknowledges organizations whose innovative programs can be replicated across the Commonwealth. Nominees are judged on seven criteria, including community impact, potential for replication, innovation, outcomes and promotion of aging in the community.

The purpose of CEALH’s microlearning research project was to develop, pilot and evaluate a new approach to person-centered training in Virginia nursing homes with a goal to improve knowledge, attitudes, skills and a sense of competence among nursing home staff caring for residents with dementia.

The project involved delivering a 52-week curriculum to clinical and non-clinical team members in nine nursing homes from April 2016 to April 2017.

“We set out to showcase that by providing a little bit of training more frequently you could enhance someone’s ability to learn the subject matter, and especially a subject as complex as caring for people living with dementia,” said Rick Jackson, CEALH’s Executive Director.

The microlearning project team included Mary Martha Stewart, Director of Culture Change at CEALH, Christy Jensen, PhD, Director of Health Services Research at CEALH, Jennifer Inker, PhD, of the Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Gerontology, and Sonya Barsness of Sonya Barsness Consulting, LLC.

Lessons in the weekly, digital, instruction modules touched on topics ranging from how to meet people with dementia where they are, living with dementia, making a difference caring for people living with dementia and understanding the unique needs of people with dementia.

When surveyed, nearly 94 percent of participants noted that they agree or strongly agree to the statement that “microlearning is a helpful way to learn,” and nearly 82 percent said they would be interested in participating in more microlearning programs.

Each microlearning session was less than 10 minutes long and was delivered via an online platform, Jackson said.

“A major theme that emerges from this year’s awardees was the importance of family caregiver supports, respite and education that help older adults to age in place,” said Council Best Practices Committee Chair Dr. Richard Lindsay. “The number of family caregivers in Virginia is growing and we want to recognize these best practices that offer such critical help to the many families struggling with caregiving.”

The Commonwealth Council on Aging’s Best Practices Awards serve to encourage organizations across the commonwealth to develop and support programs and services that assist older adults to age in their community.

To learn more about Riverside CEALH’s programs, visit riversideonline.com/cealh.

Published: May 22, 2018