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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]

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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.


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.


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.


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.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Aged health care
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Health related to ageing
UTAS Author:Doherty, K (Dr Kathleen Doherty)
UTAS Author:Bindoff, A (Mr Aidan Bindoff)
UTAS Author:Farrow, M (Dr Maree Farrow)
UTAS Author:McInerney, F (Professor Fran McInerney)
UTAS Author:Vickers, J (Professor James Vickers)
ID Code:142287
Year Published:2020
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2021-01-06
Last Modified:2021-04-29

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