Webinars for Knowledge Exchange in Geriatric Mental Health
Mental Health and Geriatric Care
- Evolved from local monthly videoconference education sessions in geriatric mental health to become a national, accredited network for continuing professional development
- Has led to the introduction of a novel educational method for enhancing knowledge exchange using virtual blended learning, which has been tested across 3 learning activities
- Changes in knowledge and attitude measured at baseline, post-webinar and after one month follow up. Significant changes in confidence and comfort using tools with patients, including scales and measures
- Engagement and interactivity optimized through the incorporation of simulation and demonstration of clinical tools
- Flexibility in modules enables the learning needs of diverse health care professionals to be met
- Dissemination at local, national and international conferences
- Received Baycrest’s Annual Outstanding Innovation award 2015, won “Best Faculty Poster” at Department of Psychiatry’s Don Wasylenki Education Day 2016, and one of top 5 projects selected for oral presentation in “Great Ideas and In the Works” at the national Advanced Learning in Palliative Medicine Conference 2016
Background: This project evolved from a videoconferenced education series in geriatric mental health broadcast from Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto. Seeking to optimize engagement with our audience of health care professionals, we developed a novel approach to continuing education using blended virtual learning. Pairing online modules with live webinars, we examined the feasibility and impact of this methodology for knowledge transfer in geriatric mental health.
Method: Free online modules in 1) Depression at end of life 2) Late-life anxiety and 3) Challenging behaviours in dementia were offered to diverse health care professionals across Canada. Each module was followed by an expert-facilitated live webinar. Strategies for engagement in the online portion included the use of simulation, and demonstration of quality improvement tools. Knowledge and attitude measures were gathered pre- and post-webinar and at one month post-session.
Results: 1) Depression at end of life: online module – 114 participants; webinar – 24 participants; post-webinar 100% (N=20) stated that the blended learning was more effective than either modality alone; 88% noted the webinar helped consolidate material from the online module.
2) Late-life anxiety: Online module – 377 participants; 2 webinars (N=60 for each) with >200 waitlisted for webinars; 80% stated blended learning was more effective than either modality alone. Comfort with anxiety in older adults increased post-webinar (N=187); at one month, 39% (N=102) were now using anxiety scale with patients. One month post-learning activity, 87% (N=102) indicated participation had a positive impact on their practice.
3) Challenging behaviours in dementia: Online module – 267 participants; at one month post-webinar 80.5% (N=89) felt the blended learning activity was helping with patient care.
Conclusions: Virtual blended learning through the pairing of an online module with a live webinar offers a feasible and valued means for engaging learners and with the flexibility to meet the needs of physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals. This is a novel educational approach that is time and cost-efficient. It targets diverse health care professionals simultaneously and increases access to continuing education in geriatric mental health. It promotes the use of clinical tools. Additional modules are being developed using Baycrest’s learning management system. This method can be adapted for other contexts.