Assessment of health care professionals' attitudes and knowledge about older adults

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Heath, Kathleen
Smith, Alysia
Green, Jacie
Rogers, Nicole L.
Chesser, Amy K.
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Heath, K., Smith, A. 2020. Assessment of health care professionals' attitudes and knowledge about older adults -- In Proceedings: 16th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects. Wichita, KS: Wichita State University, p.35

INTRODUCTION: The aging population is continuing to increase in size and so are their healthcare needs. Healthcare professionals' knowledge of and attitudes toward the health and well-being of this population may affect the quality of care these patients receive. PURPOSE: The purpose of this pilot study is to evaluate the relationship between the level of knowledge regarding the aging population and ageist attitudes among healthcare workers. METHODS: This pilot study used a test-survey distributed to a convenience sample of healthcare professionals working in aging communities. Data collected from a compilation of three surveys assessed the following factors: ageist attitudes, knowledge level regarding older adults, and demographic information. The primary outcome of interest in this study is the relationship between participants' level of knowledge of older adults and level of ageist attitudes. RESULTS: Fifty-seven healthcare workers participated in the survey, while fifty-three completed it entirely. Correlation coefficients were computed among knowledge, ageism, gender and age. Data analysis revealed no significant correlations among the categories. There were no significant correlations between the level of ageism and knowledge of older adults, r(57) = -.422, p < .05. Additionally, correlation coefficients calculated between gender and level of ageism as well as gender and knowledge of older adults revealed no significant values, r(57) = -.056, p < .05, r(57) = -.105, p < .05. Furthermore, there was no significant correlation between the level of knowledge of older adults and participants' age, r(53) = .084, p > .05 . Finally, there was no significant correlation between level of ageism and increased age, r(53) = .095, p < .05. CONCLUSION: The lack of significant correlations is likely due to the small sample size of this study. Additionally, small sample size limited the ability to analyze data into further subgroups. It is possible the external validity of this study is compromised due to the limited number of participants. There are a variety of factors contributing to limited participation. Despite inconclusive results, proper training is crucial to the quality of care providers can give their patients. Future research will be valuable to explore this research question further as well as explore actions to implement appropriate workplace training and education to reduce ageist attitudes among healthcare providers.

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Presented to the 16th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (GRASP) held online, Wichita State University, May 1, 2020.
Research completed in the Department of Physician Assistant, College of Health Professions; Department of Public Health Sciences, College of Health Professions
Wichita State University
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v. 16
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