Thursday, July 12, 2007
This presentation is part of : Healthcare for the Aging
Nurses' Attitudes, Knowledge and Confidence in Preventing and treating Deconditioning in the Elderly
Brenda MacDonald, BN, MSc, MEd, School of Nursing, St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS, Canada, Angela Josephine Gillis, PhD, RN, Nursing Department, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS, Canada, and Allene MacIsaac, MScN, RN, Nursing, St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, NS, Canada.
Learning Objective #1: 1. Understand the impact of nursesí knowledge, attitude, and confidence in providing evidence-based care to prevent deconditioning in the elderly.
Learning Objective #2: 2. Discuss evidence- based strategies for health promotion and prevention in the hospitalized elderly.

AIMS: This paper explores the factors that facilitate as well as the factors that act as barriers to the prevention and treatment of deconditioning in the hospitalized elderly. Deconditioning is a serious problem; however, it is potentially preventable and treatable. Specifically, the paper reports on the preliminary findings of a pilot study designed to assess nurses’ knowledge, attitudes, and confidence in providing care to prevent and treat deconditioning in the hospitalized elderly.

METHODS: A descriptive correlational design was used to examine the study variables in a convenience sample of 236 nurses. In particular, the following questions were addressed: What is the knowledge level of nurses related to :

a)      assessment of deconditioning in the elderly

b)      health risks associated with deconditioning in the elderly?

c)      interventions to promote maximum physical functioning in the elderly?

  1. What is the confidence level of nurses in providing care to improve or maintain physical functioning in the elderly?
  2. What is the attitude of nurses towards their role in the implementation of resistance exercise programs for the hospitalized elderly?
  3. What are the enabling and the inhibiting factors that influence the nurses’ role in prevention of deconditioning in the elderly?

RESULTS: Data analysis is currently ongoing. Preliminary results suggest that nurses have low levels of knowledge about assessing and preventing deconditioning but higher levels of knowledge regarding interventions. Confidence levels also warrant attention.

CONCLUSIONS: The significance of the study lies not only in the evaluation itself, but in the recommendations to be generated. Nurses who are knowledgeable about deconditioning should be able to anticipate the risks and take steps to prevent the cascade of iatrogenesis. An anticipated outcome is the provision of information that will be pertinent to essential curriculum content for Schools of Nursing.