The key to a great learning experience

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By Elise Copps

When Nick Millar, a clinical manager at Hamilton Health Sciences, introduced the idea to his team, he got a few sets of raised eyebrows.

“It’s was a bit unconventional,” he admits. “But people got really into it since we started.”

He wanted to improve his team’s knowledge and understanding of how to care for older adults, especially those with dementia or delirium. The units he manages at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre have seen a rise in the number of seniors they’re caring for over the last several years. Millar wanted to deliver this important teaching in a way that would excite and engage his staff. He drew inspiration from some colleagues and landed on a concept.

A senior’s care escape room.

If you haven’t heard about the escape room craze, here’s a quick explainer: teams are “locked” in a room filled with a series of activities and challenges that will lead to a key out. There are clues along the way, but participants have to think creatively and work together to find them.

Millar enlisted one of his registered practical nurses, Helena Richards, to assist him in developing the escape room challenge. She created a series of stations focused on different topics related to seniors care, including nutrition, medication management and safe patient handling.

“It was really fun to put it together,” says Richards. “Participants had to demonstrate that they understood the concepts in order to move forward in the room.”

To add another layer of learning, teams earned extra bonus points for including as many different professionals groups as possible on their five person roster. This encouraged knowledge sharing between professions and helped participants come away with a better perspective of what their colleagues go through when caring for seniors.

Millar was pleased to see how many teams registered to participate, and has received great feedback so far. He’s hopeful that this teaching style will help staff to retain what they’ve learned and share their excitement for improving senior’s care.

Elise Copps is a Public Relations Specialist, at Hamilton Health Sciences.