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Medical students' and doctors' attitudes towards older patients and their care in hospital settings: a conceptualisation

Samra, Rajvinder; Griffiths, Amanda; Cox, Tom; Conroy, Simon; Gordon, Adam; Gladman, John R.F.

Authors

Rajvinder Samra

AMANDA GRIFFITHS amanda.griffiths@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Occupational Health Psychology

Simon Conroy

ADAM GORDON Adam.Gordon@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of The Care of Older People

JOHN GLADMAN john.gladman@nottingham.ac.uk
Professor of Medicine of Older People



Abstract

Background: despite assertions in reports from governmental and charitable bodies that negative staff attitudes towards older patients may contribute to inequitable healthcare provision for older patients when compared with younger patients (those aged under 65 years), the research literature does not describe these attitudes in any detail.

Objective: this study explored and conceptualised attitudes towards older patients using in-depth interviews.

Methods: twenty-five semi-structured interviews with medical students and hospital-based doctors in a UK acute teaching hospital were conducted. Participants were asked about their beliefs, emotions and behavioural tendencies towards older patients, in line with the psychological literature on the definition of attitudes (affective, cognitive and behavioural information). Data were analysed thematically.

Results: attitudes towards older patients and their care could be conceptualised under the headings: (i) beliefs about older patients; (ii) older patients' unique needs and the skills required to care for them and (iii) emotions and satisfaction with caring for older patients.

Conclusions: our findings outlined common beliefs and stereotypes specific to older patients, as opposed to older people in general. Older patients had unique needs concerning their healthcare. Participants typically described negative emotions about caring for older patients, but the sources of dissatisfaction largely related to the organisational setting and system in which the care is delivered to these patients. This study marks one of the first in-depth attempts to explore attitudes towards older patients in UK hospital settings.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 15, 2015
Journal Age and Ageing
Print ISSN 0002-0729
Electronic ISSN 1468-2834
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 44
Issue 5
APA6 Citation Samra, R., Griffiths, A., Cox, T., Conroy, S., Gordon, A., & Gladman, J. R. (2015). Medical students' and doctors' attitudes towards older patients and their care in hospital settings: a conceptualisation. Age and Ageing, 44(5), https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afv082
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afv082
Keywords Physicians, Attitudes, Older patients, Interview study, UK, Older people
Publisher URL https://doi.org/10.1093/ageing/afv082
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0





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