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Veterans Health Administration’s Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS) Training Evaluation: Potential Implications for Disaster Health Care Volunteers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 February 2018

Susan Schmitz*
Affiliation:
US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center, Los Angeles, California
Tiffany A. Radcliff
Affiliation:
US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center, Los Angeles, California Department of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas
Karen Chu
Affiliation:
US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center, Los Angeles, California
Robert E. Smith
Affiliation:
US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center, Los Angeles, California
Aram Dobalian
Affiliation:
US Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Emergency Management Evaluation Center, Los Angeles, California Division of Health Systems Management and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee
*
Correspondence and reprint requests to Susan Schmitz, MAIDP, US Department of Veterans Affairs, 16111 Plummer Street, MS 152, North Hills, CA 91343 (e-mail: Susan.Schmitz2@VA.gov).

Abstract

Objective

The US Veterans Health Administration’s Disaster Emergency Medical Personnel System (DEMPS) is a team of employee disaster response volunteers who provide clinical and non-clinical staffing assistance when local systems are overwhelmed. This study evaluated attitudes and recommendations of the DEMPS program to understand the impact of multi-modal training on volunteer perceptions.

Methods

DEMPS volunteers completed an electronic survey in 2012 (n=2120). Three training modes were evaluated: online, field exercise, and face-to-face. Measures included: “Training Satisfaction,” “Attitudes about Training,” “Continued Engagement in DEMPS.” Data were analyzed using χ2 and logistic regression. Open-ended questions were evaluated in a manner consistent with grounded theory methodology.

Results

Most respondents participated in DEMPS training (80%). Volunteers with multi-modal training who completed all 3 modes (14%) were significantly more likely to have positive attitudes about training, plan to continue as volunteers, and would recommend DEMPS to others (P-value<0.001). Some respondents requested additional interactive activities and suggested increased availability of training may improve volunteer engagement.

Conclusions

A blended learning environment using multi-modal training methods, could enhance satisfaction and attitudes and possibly encourage continued engagement in DEMPS or similar programs. DEMPS training program modifications in 2015 expanded this blended learning approach through new interactive online learning opportunities. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2018;12:744-751)

Type
Original Research
Copyright
Copyright © Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. 2018 

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