A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Digital Adaptation of the WHELD Person-Centered Nursing Home Training Program

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Objective: Digital approaches to delivering person-centered care training to nursing home staff have the potential to enable widespread affordable implementation, but there is very limited evidence and no randomized controlled trials (RCTs) evaluating digital training in the nursing home setting. The objective was to evaluate a digital person-centered care training intervention in a robust RCT. Design: We conducted a 2-month cluster RCT in 16 nursing homes in the United Kingdom, randomized equally to receive a digitally adapted version of the WHELD person-centered care home training program with virtual coaching compared to the digital training program alone. Setting and Participants: The study was conducted in UK nursing homes. There were 175 participants (45 nursing home staff and 130 residents with dementia). Methods: The key outcomes were the well-being and quality of life (QoL) of residents with dementia and the attitudes and knowledge of nursing home staff. Results: There were significant benefits in well-being (t = 2.76, P = .007) and engagement in positive activities (t = 2.34, P = .02) for residents with dementia and in attitudes (t = 3.49, P = .001), including hope (t = 2.62, P = .013) and personhood (t = 2.26, P = .029), for staff in the group receiving digital eWHELD with virtual coaching compared to the group receiving digital learning alone. There was no improvement in staff knowledge about dementia. Conclusion and Implications: The study provides encouraging initial clinical trial evidence that a digital version of the WHELD program supported by virtual coaching confers significant benefits for care staff and residents with dementia. Evidence-based digital interventions with remote coaching may also have particular utility in supporting institutional recovery of nursing homes from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1170
Number of pages5
JournalJournal Of The American Medical Directors Association
Issue number7
Early online date26 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Dementia
  • nursing homes
  • person-centered care
  • RCT


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