Offering Evidence-Based Programming Virtually
Centralina Area Agency on Aging | Charlotte, NC
Thursday, June 11, 2020
Section: COVID-19




When North Carolina first began considering a stay-at-home order at the start of the COVID-19 crisis, the Centralina Area Agency on Aging cancelled all in-person workshops. Staff began listening to national and federal webinars to learn about options they could use to deliver online health programs, specifically evidence-based programs. The AAA, along with the North Carolina Center for Health and Wellness (NCCHW) and the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adults Services (NCDAAS) chose to offer an at-home version of Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) through the Self-Management Resource Center’s (SMRC) CDSMP Tool Kit Plus. The CDSMP Tool Kit Plus is a six-week, at-home course using SMRC script for weekly conference calls as check-in points. With participants living in rural and urban areas, and some having limited access to computers and technology, this was determined to be the best option for participants, especially as it allows for weekly engagement with clients by phone to help with social isolation.
 
The AAA worked with NCDAAS and NCCHW to design new policies to allow the state to move as a unit when delivering this new at-home program. NCCHW created pre and post surveys online using a form from the National Council on Aging, the AAA developed a PowerPoint presentation for state and local provider webinars, which included the new processes for implementation, and NCDAAS disseminated information to AAAs across the state. All paperwork for the surveys and attendance forms are available online through healthyagingnc.com

With the new at-home option, each CDSMP Tool Kit Plus workshop begins with a session zero, where the program leader calls each participant individually to complete the pre-survey, makes sure each participant understands how to access the conference call and answers any other questions. The next six sessions are held via weekly phone call in groups of four or fewer, per SMRC guidelines. The final session is an individual phone call to complete the post-survey. Some providers are offering the sessions by conference call, while others are using web-based platforms.

As the Centralina AAA was no longer able to offer in-person workshops to fulfill the current Health Promotion and Disease Prevention contracts, the AAA ended the current contracts and sent a new request for proposals to implement the CDSMP Tool Kit Workshop. Following the request for proposals process, the AAA’s providers committed to conduct nine CDSMP Tool Kit workshops before June 30, 2020. The providers were responsible for recruitment of participants, with some providers recruiting through senior nutrition programs and others reaching out to A Matter of Balance participants who were not able to complete the in-person workshop.

For those conducting outreach to A Matter of Balance participants, the AAA and NCCHW developed a recruitment script. With Older Americans Act Title V Senior Community Service Employment Program participants unable to work, the AAA offered the CDSMP Tool Kit Plus option to them as an alternative. Before the at-home workshop began, the AAA staff dropped off eight tool kits per site to their providers for providers to deliver to participants, along with hard copies of the pre and post surveys, telephonic scripts (provided by SMRC), consumer contribution forms and attendance forms. Each tool kit includes a book, exercise CD, relaxation CD, self-test and tip sheets.