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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 172-175

An interprofessional education program's impact on attitudes toward and desire to work with older adults

1 Department of Health Science, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, USA
2 Department of Communication Disorders, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, USA

Correspondence Address:
Julia D Edgar
2241 Health Sciences Building, 100 East Normal Avenue, Kirksville, Missouri 65301
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_2_15

Background: Insufficient numbers of health professions students aspire to work with the increasing numbers of the elderly. Although programs exist to promote interest in serving this population, inadequate numbers of health professionals remain an issue. Methods: This study sample consisted of medical (n = 75) and health profession students (n = 210) enrolled in a semester-long interprofessional clinical education program designed to enhance interprofessional teamwork and provide positive exposure to elderly in the community. Each team of three visited an assigned elder three times during the semester. Students were acquainted with their elder and also administered a comprehensive geriatric physical and socioemotional battery of assessments. After each visit, the teams met and held a debriefing with faculty. Attitudes toward older adults and the desire to work with older adults were assessed using the Carolina Opinion of Care of Older Adults. The survey was administered twice: before initiating the semester-long program and immediately after program completion. Results: Total score and subscale scores were compared pre- and post-experience. Scores on the subscale “Early Interest in Geriatrics” were significantly higher postexperience compared to pre-experience. Scores on the remaining subscales and the total score remained unchanged. Discussion: Results indicate that exposure to elderly adults may increase the interest in working with this population and does not diminish attitudes toward the elderly. Longer exposure may be needed to invoke attitudinal changes across additional subtests.

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