Apr 9, 2021
A substantial proportion of Veterans require quality geriatric specialty care to prevent functional decline and rehospitalization, but there is a paucity of geriatrics specialists in rural areas. Existing rural healthcare providers indicate a need for education and support to better serve their patients with complex care needs. The RESTORE team’s prior work indicate that in-person training to apply high intensity physical rehabilitation leads to improved patient functional performance, improved patient independence, reduced length of stay, and decreased cost to the healthcare system, as well as increased clinician job satisfaction. However, the access of rural rehabilitation providers to in-person training is limited. Thus, Katie Butera post-doctoral fellow, Katherine Seidler post-doctoral fellow, and Lauren Hinrichs PhD student under the lead of Dr. Jennifer Stevens-Lapsley set to increase access by offering rural Community Living Centers (CLC) a robust, remote education and training program informed by online instructional and graphic design principles and adult learning theories. Our approach includes web-based delivery of didactic content, problem-based learning, patient case simulation through branching logic to promote clinical decision making, and an online community of practice to promote communication, collaboration, and learning across rural sites. In the first year, we have enrolled 4 CLCs and training began in March of 2021. Using the Kirkpatrick model of educational program evaluation, we plan to survey the clinicians to determine their satisfaction with the program, learning outcomes, and clinical application of the training. Ultimately, we plan to improve and scale up to include more sites for an additional year of evaluation with the ultimate objective of offering this remote training as a Promising Practice, thereby reducing rural healthcare workforce disparities, improving rural clinician job satisfaction, and improving Veteran functional independence.