The key to a great learning experience

The key to a great learning experience

An unconventional approach

When Nick Millar 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 once we started.”

As clinical leader for units B3, E3 and F3 at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre, 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 leads 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 staff. He drew inspiration from colleagues on E4 and F4 and landed on a concept.

A senior’s care escape room.

Education on trend

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.

“Participants had to demonstrate that they understood the concepts”

Millar enlisted one of the unit’s 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 responsive behaviour management, nutrition, pain management, restraints care 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.”

For example, at the nutrition station, teams had to identify protein rich foods in order to put together a puzzle that revealed the passcode to access the next station.


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.