Large-scale evaluation of a computer-based learning program to increase prison staff knowledge on geriatric and end-of-life care

Valerie Harwell Myers, Susan Loeb, Erin Kitt-Lewis, Tiffany Jerrod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to continue research and development of the ECAD-P learning system with an emphasis on developing a scalable unit for testing in a larger number of more diverse correctional settings. There are almost 2.3 million US persons incarcerated. Geriatric and end-of-life (EOL) care in corrections is not as equitable as care in the free world. Technological delivery of geriatric training to staff through computer-based learning (CBL) offers a novel approach to improve care and reduce disparities among those who are most vulnerable during confinement. Design/methodology/approach: This mixed methods study built an interactive CBL for multidisciplinary staff to address EOL and geriatric issues in prisons. The CBL was iteratively built and tested prior to launching a full-scale evaluation using a pre/post-intervention design. Findings: Evaluation of the CBL occurred at 7 sites (i.e. 6 state prisons and 1 prison health-care vendor). A total of 241 staff were recruited with 173 completing post-tests. Outcomes were knowledge acquisition regarding care for aging and dying incarcerated persons (i.e. cognitive measure) and attitudes, motivations and values for providing care (i.e. affective measure). Cognitive and affective post-tests were significantly better than at pre-test (all ps < 0.01). ANCOVAs revealed no significant differences for sex or ethnicity. Originality/value: Outcomes reveal that the CBL is acceptable, feasible and usable in corrections. Staff improved their knowledge after receiving the training. Correctional settings face increasing pressures to better address the health care and management needs of aged, chronically ill and dying incarcerated persons. This e-learning holds promise to contribute to better preparation of corrections staff to effectively care for these populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-199
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Prisoner Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)


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