Healthcare practitioners (HCP) have expressed inadequate preparation in providing care to patients living with a dementia. Research suggests experiential learning activities (ELAs) can improve HCP knowledge and comfort toward this population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a short-duration (2-hour) dementia ELA on Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students’ knowledge and comfort toward individuals living with a dementia. Participants included a sample of first-year DPT students (n=82). In this pre-experimental, single-site, longitudinal study, students participated in an ELA at a memory care facility. They completed a dementia knowledge and comfort survey pre-(T1) and post-ELA(T2), as well as prior to their first clinical experience (nine months post-ELA; T3). Pre- and post-survey analysis demonstrated significant improvements between T1 to T2 and T1 to T3 with overall effect sizes ranging from very large (d=1.256) to huge (d=1.520). There were no significant differences between T2 to T3 analysis. Students demonstrated positive improvements in attitudes toward individuals living with a dementia following this ELA. Improvements were maintained over time. An ELA as short as two hours may improve person-centered care for patients living with a dementia. These types of activities should be considered for inclusion in DPT curricula.
|Journal||Gerontology and Geriatrics Education|
|State||Accepted/In press - 2023|
- Alzheimer‘s disease
- care professionals
- dementia education
- experiential education
- experiential learning