Distance Learning for Home Modifications (R43 AG021817)

Period of Performance: 08/15/2006 - 04/30/2008


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Ideas, Inc.
Kirtland, OH 44094
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The goal of this project is to develop and test the feasibility of a series of online educational modules that provide practical information on home modifications for older adults with sensory, mobility, physical and cognitive impairments. Modifying a home through remodeling, adding adaptive hardware, or changing the arrangement of objects is an important intervention strategy to manage chronic health care conditions, maintain or improve functioning, increase independence, ensure safety of frail older adults who experience functional limitations, and minimize the cost of personal care services. A major reason for the limited implementation of home modifications throughout the U.S. is not a lack of carpenters or construction people to implement the modifications, but rather the lack of individuals in social service agencies, particularly in non-urban areas, who have the knowledge to prescribe the appropriate modifications. Distance learning is an effective way to educate service providers to enable them to prescribe home modifications as part of a comprehensive, multi-dimensional strategy tailored to the specific needs of older adults. In Phase I a course on home modifications to compensate for cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer's disease and related dementias was successfully developed and tested in a self-study and an interactive format. Test of knowledge tests showed some significant learning, and both formats were highly rated by students. In Phase II, we will develop and assess an additional 4 courses: Home modifications for people with sensory loss; home modifications for wheelchair users; home modifications for people with gait and upper body limitations; and home modifications to reduce falls risk. Course evaluation will be expanded to include a 2 month follow-up with students on their use of material learned in the courses. Phase III will include an aggressive marketing plan to make the courses readily available to a broad range of social service agency personnel, contractors, and others engaged in home modifications.