Educating mental health staff in sensory approaches using an e-learning package: a 3-month follow-up
Pamela Meredith, Sarah Hutchens, Lachlan Kerley, Michelle Taylor & Maddy Slattery
Background/Aims: Emerging evidence suggests that people with mental illness report improved emotional regulation through the use of sensory approaches; however, incorporating sensory approaches into clinical practice requires training. While use of a sensory approaches e-learning training package has revealed short-term improvements in staff knowledge, confidence and attitudes towards sensory approaches, the preservation of these changes over time has not been investigated.
Methods: A multi-method longitudinal survey design was used. Data were collected pre-, post- and 3-months after participants completed a sensory approaches e-learning package. Surveys included multiple-choice questions, a Knowledge, Confidence and Attitudes Scale, and questions regarding the implementation of sensory approaches.
Findings: Three months following course completion, participant scores on knowledge (actual and perceived), confidence and attitudes about sensory approaches had decreased slightly from scores immediately after training; however, perceived knowledge and confidence remained significantly higher than pre-training. Most participants reported that they were implementing more sensory approaches 3 months after completion of the package. Key barriers to the implementation of sensory approaches were staff roles and time/resources.
Conclusions: This study revealed sustained improvements in clinician confidence and knowledge following completion of the package and identified factors influencing implementation. Findings highlight the need for continued educational support and workplace changes to increase the inclusion of sensory approaches in clinical practice.