ASILA case-simulation prototype on cognitive and physical outcomes of frail seniors in nursing homes

The Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care’s report Living Longer, Living Well highlights a rapidly increasing need to care for seniors requiring complex care in nursing home (NH) settings. As the number of seniors rises, pressure increases on the care capacity in these organizations. It is estimated that by 2020, Canadian healthcare staff will spend 75% of their time with seniors requiring complex care. The majority of these workers will be registered nursing and unregulated healthcare staff. However, insufficient geriatric content in Canadian health care education persists, leading to serious concerns that staff do not have adequate knowledge to assess, plan, provide and document care. This deficit is especially acute in NH settings with negative consequences for seniors. Difficulties in providing appropriate care to frail seniors are compounded by unfamiliarity with data and assessment systems used in NHs. 
This proposed study aims to develop an innovative educational model into an effective geriatric training program for healthcare providers caring for frail older adults. The program is called the Applied Simulated and Integrated Learning Approach (ASILA) and aims to improve targeted clinical outcomes for seniors through the use of evidence-informed case simulations related to cognitive and physical challenges common among frail seniors. The simulations will include specific training on the use of the Minimum Data Set (MDS) as a comprehensive assessment and quality improvement framework. 
Extensive work to-date by this multi-disciplinary research team has developed the expertise and knowledge on developing, implementing and evaluating the ASILA Program on clinical care outcomes for frail seniors. Upon successful completion of this pilot study, the PIs aim to expand the ASILA Program, the sample, and the training to additional locations and provinces, and focus on a more long-term outcome evaluation of the impact of the ASILA program. This proposed study has the potential to enhance care for frail senior

CFN believes that caring for the frail elderly is a complex, Canada-wide issue that requires multi-faceted, national strategies and solutions, and our monthly webinars are one way we bring together talented people to focus on this goal.

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Veronique Boscart, PhD, MEd, MScN, RN is a CIHR Schlegel Research Chair in Seniors Care. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the School of Nursing at McMaster University and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Her research interests include: evidence-based care in gerontology, curriculum development of gerontological education for healthcare professionals, and infection control practices.