The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Helen Sorenson, Martha M. Acosta; Respiratory Care, The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX

Background: The aging of America is a reality. Currently there is potential for 10,000 individuals to turn 65 every day, a trend that will continue for 12-15 years. Over 30 to 50% of admissions to hospitals are now patients 65 and older.(IOM 2009) More training/education is necessary to improve care of older adults delivered by interprofessional allied health personnel. RTs, paramedics,firemen,and clinical lab scientists are all involved in geriatric care, either directly or indirectly. Understanding normal age-related systemic changes vs. disease related changes in older adults is important, as is understanding age-related changes in lab values, issues related to transporting older adults with dementia, recognizing elder abuse and awareness of how ageist attitudes can adversely affect older adults. Methods: For the past 3 years, students in the Clinical Lab Sciences and Emergency Health Sciences programs have attended a 3-4 hour Geriatric Symposium each year taught by faculty from Respiratory Care and Physical Therapy. Pre and post-tests were given to all students to assess entry-level knowledge of aging issues and knowledge after completion of the symposium. Results: The average score on the Aging pre-test was 66.1%. The average score on the Aging post-test was 84.0%. Conclusion: The symposia have been successful in raising awareness of aging issues, and have now been incorporated into the curriculum for Clinical Lab Science, Emergency Health Science and Respiratory Care students. Sponsored Research - None