E-training of Inmate Peer Caregivers for Enhancing Geriatric and End-of-life Care in Prisons

Project: Research project

Project Details


The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world?imprisoning 693 people per 100,000. The older adult segment of the prison population has more than tripled since 1990 and their health issues are common to free people who are 10-15 years their senior. Inmates over the age of 55 have a death rate that is 10 times that of prisoners aged 25-34. US prison systems are facing sharply increased demands in caring for aged and dying inmates. A recent systematic review revealed that inmate peer caregivers can figure prominently in delivery of end-of-life (EOL) care in prison. However, the degree of training received by inmate peer caregivers varies widely. The lack of consistent training, both in content and duration points to a need for evidence based, current, and readily accessible training for this abundant human resource for meeting a growing need in US prisons. In response to this need, this Phase I STTR project, titled E-training of Inmate Peer Caregivers for Enhancing Geriatric and End-of-Life Care in Prisons, will demonstrate the scientific merit and feasibility of developing cutting edge, media rich learning modules to train inmate peer caregivers in geriatric and EOL care. The specific aims of the project are to (1) transform best practices in inmate peer caregiving into a comprehensive training program that consists of media-rich and highly interactive computer-based learning modules for providing geriatric and EOL care to their peers; and (2) conduct in-person usability testing of the media-rich and highly interactive web-based prototypes with inmates who are currently Mental Health Peer Support Specialists (i.e., prisoners who are experienced caregivers, but naïve to geriatric and EOL care) to evaluate the user interface, ease of use, and perceived barriers in order to refine and optimize the product. In collaboration with an advisory board of experts in prison healthcare, geriatrics, ethics, palliative/hospice care, and oversight of an inmate peer support program, we will plan and develop discussion guides and then conduct focus groups with three groups of prison stakeholders: inmates who serve as peer caregivers for aged or dying peers; interdisciplinary staff who care for, or oversee care of aged and dying inmates; and training and information technology staff. One focus group with each of the above three constituent groups will be held at a men's and a women's prison. Focus groups will permit us to ensure that the design and technology plans match what is allowable for inmate training and will allow us to isolate essential geriatric and EOL content for specification in the development of the comprehensive training program. Finally, we will create and evaluate prototypes of media rich, interactive computer-based learning modules for inmates serving as peer caregivers. At the end of Phase I, we will have a specifications document for the design of modules that: fit with the technology available in corrections settings; is permissible to be used by inmates; represents the critical learning needs of inmate peer caregivers for assisting with geriatric and EOL care; and further develops our collaborative relationships in preparation for commercialization of the product.
Effective start/end date8/1/174/30/19


  • National Institute on Aging: $225,000.00


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