Recent LTC Research

Long-Term Care Research

Below are summaries of recent grant-funded research that I.D.E.A.S., Inc. has conducted in the field of geriatrics. We update this page as new projects are completed.

Online Courses on Home Modifications for Seniors
This project developed a series of online courses on home modifications for people with sensory limitations, people with mobility problems, people at risk of falling, and people with dementia.

Funding: 5/03 - 11/07 National Institute on Aging, $835,925

Objective: To create an online course about home modifications for people with dementia living at home. Courses were developed in both an asynchronous/self-study format and a synchronous/interactive version. They were tested with therapists, social workers, contractors and other aging professionals.

Method: Quasi-experimental design, tests of efficacy and satisfaction.

Results: Participants demonstrated significant learning after taking all four courses. The courses were rated highly, and participants indicated they would definitely recommend the courses to their colleagues. Self-study version of the online courses are available at, while the synchronous courses are available through University of Southern California.


Designing a Better Closet
to Promote Safe and Independent Dressing

This project evaluates the impact of resident safety and independence in dressing by using a new, Assistive Wardrobe.

Funding: 9/03 - 8/08 National Institute on Aging, $821,749

Objective: The goal of this project is to create an assistive closet/wardrobe (developed in conjunction with Claflin Contract Furnishings) that supports greater independence in dressing in frail individuals living in nursing homes, assisted living or other senior housing. A second objective is to create a new research instrument that accurately assesses those aspects of dressing that relate to accessing one's clothes.

Method: In Phase I a prototype wardrobe was developed, and researchers found that it increased residents' ability to access clothes independently (p<.003), elicited positive responses from 100% of residents, and specific features were identified by staff as being of benefit to either the residents or caregivers providing assistance. There were also a number of recommendations for additional modification to make to the wardrobe to further enhance its supportiveness. Phase II of this study focused on expanding the wardrobe design to make it supportive of the needs of individuals with cognitive deficits, and the design of various component parts refined so they can easily be added to existing wardrobes and closets. Phase II featured three main goals to test the hypotheses of the study: validate the WISS as appropriate for assessing the dressing process for people with dementia, refine the design of the wardrobe unit, and to assess the impact of the modified wardrobe on actual dressing process by residents and on staff time and assistance.

Results: In Phase I, residents using the assistive wardrobe were significantly more independent and rated as safer than when using their existing wardrobes. Further research will assess the impact on staff time providing dressing assistance.

Online Resources for People with Hearing Impairments
Project developed a website with information about assistive listening devices, including hearing aids, and other communication strategies for people with hearing loss.

Funding: 9/03 - 8/05 National Institute on Aging, $200,000

Objective: This project created an online course for older adults and their family members about the need for and use of assistive technologies related to hearing impairments. The online course was compared with a traditional classroom taught format with the same content.

Method: Quasi-experimental design, which tested learning efficacy and satisfaction of both seniors and some service providers.

Results: There were virtually no differences in learning between people who took the online course and those in the classroom setting. Taking the course, however, not only increased knowledge but decreased the functional impact of hearing loss over a 2 month period. Seniors reported that they did not like the course format, and preferred to be able to access the information they were interested in without having to go through all the material. So the information was restructured as a searchable website, and the information can be found at

Comprehensive Information on Design
for People with Dementia

This multi-stage project is developing a website with searchable information about design of nursing homes and assisted living for people with dementia.

Funding: 9/03 - 4/04 National Institute on Aging, $101,255
6/02 - 6/04 Funding awarded to the Polisher Research Institute, by Alzheimer's Association, $239,973

Objective: The objective of this project is to create, a web-based resource for designers and long-term care providers that provides a comprehensive database of information on designs for dementia which is: systematically organized, easily searchable, linked with potential outcomes (resident, staff, family, and organization), and weighted for confidence in the impact/outcome.

Method: Quasi-experimental, tests of efficacy and satisfaction, user surveys.

Results: In general, people who used the web-based resource were able to provide a more detailed and accurate analysis of design features that were supportive of people with dementia than people who used a design guide book or had no resource. The website is being further developed in conjunction with the Institute on Aging and Environment at the School of Architecture and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Training Videos on HIV Associated Dementia
and Related Cognitive Disorders

This project developed a series of staff training videos on cognitive changes associated with HIV/AIDS.

Funding: 9/98 - 9/01 Funded by National Institute of Mental Health. $849,422

Objective: To develop a set of caregiver training videos, made available in both English and Spanish, utilizing behavioral and environmental solutions for HIV-Associated Dementia. Settings included long term care, community/family home and group home settings.

Method: Quasi-experimental design, tests of efficacy and satisfaction, focus groups.

Results: Participants demonstrated statistically significant learning from pretest to posttest.

Online Courses on HIV Associated Cognitive Impairments
This project converted the material from the HIV staff training videos into an on-line resource.

Funding: 10/01 - 3/02 National Institute of Mental Health, $100,000

Objective: To create an online version of the HIV training. Course was developed with HIV Insight, and tested with 35 participants.

Method: Quasi-experimental design, tests of efficacy and satisfaction.

Models of Care in Special Care Units
This project explored differences between special care units for people with dementia that reflect an institutional, homelike, resort-based or a wellness model of care.

Funding: 12/98 - 8/99 Funded by National Institute on Aging $100,000

Objective: To develop a typology of models of dementia care, assess the relationship between different models and quality indicators, and ultimately develop a training program to help long-term care facilities select and implement a cohesive model of care.

Method: Qualitative and quantitative analysis from surveys, focus groups, delphi technique, interviews

Environmental Assessment Protocol for Special Care Units
This project developed a detailed self-assessment tool for special care units for people with dementia.

Funding: 8/94 - 9/98 Funded by National Institute on Aging $823,979

Objective: To develop a cost-effective alternative to traditional consultation services for care settings serving people with dementia. To develop facility administered questionnaires and caregiver instructional videos for three areas of concern: 1) minimizing disruptive behaviors, 2) maximizing cognitive and functional abilities, and 3) enhancing self and sense of home.

Method: Modified Delphi technique, empirical goal derivation, validity and reliability

Results: Participating facilities were able to complete the questionnaire, and IDEAS staff were able to successfully develop a comprehensive report to the facility, detailing recommendations for how to modify their environment. The information has been reformatted into Creating Successful Dementia Care Settings: Vols: 1-4 and is available through


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Home Mods Home Modifications
Online courses

Environment and Communication
Assessment Toolkit for Dementia Care

Speech-Language Pathologists,
Nurses, and Occupational Therapists
Learn about this exciting new resource!

Available from
Health Professions Press

Environment and Communication Assessment Toolkit for Dementia Care (ECAT)

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