Enhancing Care of the Aged and Dying in Prisons

Project: Research project

Project Details


? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. The demographics of the prison population are shifting. In fact, the number of sentenced state and federal prisoners age 65 or older grew at 94 times the rate of the overall prison population from 2010-2012. The health status of aging inmates does not mirror the free-world population. In fact, prisoners typically present with health issues common to free citizens who are 10-15 years their senior. Prisoners are wards of that state, that is, the system is responsible for providing for not only custody and control of offenders, but also their care. Collectively, these trends have had a profound impact on prison systems: U.S. prisons are facing sharply increased demands in caring for aged and dying inmates. This Phase I STTR project, titled Enhancing Care for the Aged and Dying in Prisons (ECAD-P), will demonstrate the scientific merit and feasibility of the development of cutting edge, media rich learning modules focused on geriatric and end-of-life care within the constraints of correctional settings. The specific aims of the project are to (1) reformat an established comprehensive training program in a two-fold development strategy: standardized modules to streamline training processes and convert content-driven modules into a media rich, technology-based format that will permit large scale dissemination; (2) expand the training program to include adapted geriatric care strategies that address providers' identified needs for resources on managing issues relevant to an aging inmate population as they advance toward the end of life; and (3) conduct in-person usability testing of the media-rich, interactive web-based prototype with prison multidisciplinary staff (e.g, security, unit managers, chaplains, healthcare staff, etc.) to evaluate the user interface, ease of use, and perceived barriers, and how to further understand and optimize the organizational and environmental culture for implementation. In collaboration with experts in prison healthcare, geriatrics, and palliative/hospice care, we will first conduct an environmental scan to ensure a proper fit between the product and available technology. Next, we will isolate essential geriatric content to be identified for specification in the development of the comprehensive training program using a modified Delphi technique. Finally, we will create and evaluate prototypes of media rich, interactive learning modules designed for computer-based learning in the context of corrections. At the conclusion of Phase I, we will have a specifications document for the design of modules in the expanded Toolkit for Enhancing Care of Aged and Dying in Prisons; specifications for delivery systems that fit with the technology available in corrections settings; and established collaborative relationships in preparation for commercialization of the product.
Effective start/end date3/15/154/30/16


  • National Institute on Aging: $224,986.00


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