Bridge the Gap of Geriatric Knowledge

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cynthia D. Johnson, BS, RN, GNP-BC
Acute Care for Elders Unit, San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, San Francisco, CA

Learning Objective 1: understand the need for comprehensive geriatrics educational programs across care settings as demonstrated through retention of knowledge by nurses.

Learning Objective 2: identify measurements of geriatrics knowledge and perceptions comparing acute care and long term care nurses pre and post intervention.

A minority of nurses in the United States have been educated in Geriatrics at a time when an increase in the Older Adult population is imminent. The poster illustrates knowledge retained by nurses following the intervention of a comprehensive geriatrics education program given in both acute care and long term care settings.The poster presentation details geriatric knowledge gained by nurses through comparison of pre and post testing and changes in nursing attitudes toward the older adult. The poster also elucidates the differences in knowledge between the three groups: acute care, long term care and the control group. New approaches to care of the older adult needs to be instituted in order to  provide enhanced outcomes in both the acute care and long term care settings; the end result being improvement in the quality of life of the older adult. This project used pre and post testing with the Facts on Aging Quiz (Palmore, E. 1977, 1998) to assess nursing knowledge about old age. The quiz contains 25 factual statements concerning basic physical, mental, and social facts and the most common misconceptions about aging. Nursing knowledge of basic care of the geriatric client was measured through pre and post testing using selected questions from the Geriatric Resource Nurse (GRN) course obtained from the J. A. Hartford web site (2008). Three cohort groups were tested: nurses on a medical surgical acute care unit , nurses in a skilled nursing facility, and a control group of nurses who received  testing only, no intervention. Comprehensive courses in geriatrics improve nursing knowledge of the care needed for older adult patients. Changes of nursing perceptions occur with these courses that can lead to improvement in the specialized care needed for the older adult.