ID: 594 / OS18 - Building knowledge and understanding of dementia in aged care personnel: the understanding dementia massive open online course
Doherty, K and Bindoff, A and Farrow, M and McInerney, F and Vickers, J, ID: 594 / OS18 - Building knowledge and understanding of dementia in aged care personnel: the understanding dementia massive open online course, 34th Virtual International Conference of Alzheimer's Disease International - Hope in the age of dementia - New science. New knowledge. New solutions, 10-12 December, Online, pp. 129-129. (2020) [Conference Extract]
Introduction: Providing accessible and evidence-based education to improve the knowledge and
understanding of dementia in care personnel is a key target of the Global action plan on dementia.
Since 2013, the free Understanding Dementia Massive Open Online Course (UDMOOC) has delivered
evidence-based education about dementia to the broadest possible cohort, amongst whom residential
aged care staff are highly represented. This study investigated motivation to participate, engagement,
and effectiveness of the UDMOOC as a means to meet the knowledge needs of both nurses and care
assistants working in this sector.
Methods: Indices of engagement over three modules (1: The Brain, 2: The Diseases, 3: The Person)
were examined for 4305 participants in the UDMOOC who consented to participate in research and
identified as nurses or care assistants working in residential aged care. Motivation to undertake the
course was determined quantitatively by survey responses and qualitatively by structural topic
modelling of responses to an open-ended question. Knowledge of dementia was assessed pre and
post UDMOOC participation using the Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale (DKAS) with a
maximum possible score of 50.
Results: Probability of course completion was significantly higher for nurses (0.68 +/- 0.018) than care
assistants (0.64 +/- 0.015). Baseline DKAS scores were also significantly higher for nurses than care
assistants (37.9 +/- 7.33 vs 33.5+/- 8.14). Lower pre UDMOOC DKAS scores were associated with
reduced probability of completion of the first UDMOOC module (The Brain) and the entire course,
particularly for care assistants. Both groups showed significantly improved post course DKAS scores
(44.2+/- 5.03 vs 40.6+/- 7.36) across all subscales, with care assistants showing a greater magnitude
of improvement. Analysis of 3587 responses revealed the predominant motivating factors for both
nurses and care assistants were: to acquire new knowledge in order to deliver the best possible care;
to address deficits in their existing training; and to develop new skills and deliver person-centred care.
Care assistants particularly reported on the need to build on their existing practical dementia care skills
in order to provide better care.
Conclusion: Both care assistants and nurses in residential aged care recognise the need to address
deficiencies in their training which impact on their capacity to deliver appropriate care to residents living
with dementia. The UDMOOC demonstrably improves knowledge of dementia in both groups, even for
those with limited initial knowledge. This free online course is an effective way to provide accessible
and evidence-based information about dementia and dementia care to the care workforce.