KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICE OF CARE OF THE ELDERLY PATIENTS AMONG HEALTH WORKERS
With the global trend towards an increasing aging population, there is a corresponding increase in the health problems associated with elderly population especially in developing Countries including Nigeria. With this increase in the growth of the aging population, the number of people that will need health care will undoubtedly increase, which motivated this study. The study was aimed to assess the level of knowledge, attitude and practice of care of the elderly patients among health workers in University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar, Cross River State. The specific objective were to (i) determine the level of knowledge of the physical, emotional and social care of the elderly in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar (ii) determine the attitude of health workers in the care of the elderly, (iii) determine the health workers practices in the provision of care of the elderly, (iv) identify factors that influence the health workers attitude towards the elderly in University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar. The hypothesis for the study tested the association between years of experience of health workers and their attitude towards care of the elderly in UCTH. Calabar. The study adopted a cross sectional descriptive design. The population of the study was 1023 health workers, which was made up of 402 Doctors, 600 Nurses, 10 Dentists and 11 Physiotherapists that provided direct clinical care of elderly patients. The sample was calculated using Taro-Yamane (1967) simplified formula for finite population giving a sample of 461 health workers. The instrument for data collection was questionnaires, the reliability of the instrument was done using test retest method and a reliability co-efficient of 0.91 was obtained. The questionnaires had five sections, section A covered socio demographic data, section B, C, D consisted of items which explored level of knowledge. Attitude, practice and section E elicited information on factors influencing the care of the elderly. The completed questionnaire was coded and analyzed using E.P.I info-7. Descriptive statistics of percentage, mean, standard deviation were used for data analysis. The criterion mean of 2.5 was also used and results of the study revealed that 95% of the health workers had good knowledge of care of the elderly. Majority of the health workers had positive attitude above rating scale of 2.5. The health workers moderately practiced care of the elderly. The factors that positively influenced health workers attitude to the care of the elderly were years of experience, age and mental state of the elderly. There was significant association (P<0 .05=”” a=”” all=”” also=”” and=”” attitude=”” be=”” between=”” care=”” conclusion=”” content=”” curriculum=”” demanding=”” effective=”” elderly.=”” elderly=”” established=”” experience.=”” experience=”” for=”” future.=”” general=”” geriatric=”” had=”” have=”” health=”” hospitals.=”” in=”” is=”” less=”” manage=”” mean=”” more=”” necessary.=”” need=”” negative=”” nursing=”” of=”” offer=”” order=”” positive=”” professionals=”” recommended=”” right=”” role=”” services=”” skilled=”” skills=”” span=”” strengthened=”” study=”” that=”” the=”” therefore=”” those=”” to=”” towards=”” very=”” wards=”” while=”” with=”” workers=”” workforce=”” years=””>
Background to the Study
Ageing is the accumulation of changes in a person over time (Bowen and Atwood 2004). It involves a multidimensional process of physical, psychological and social change. Some dimensions of aging grow and expand over time, while others decline. Research shows that even in late life, potentials exist for physical, mental and social growth and development (Papalia, Sterns, Feldman, and Camp, 2002). It is not a disease; but phase of life where there is retrograde biological process in growth and development which leads to decreased powers for survival and adjustment. Aging is an important part of all human societies reflecting the biological changes that occur and also reflecting cultural and societal convention.
An estimated 100,000 people worldwide die each day of age related causes (Aubrey de Grey, 2007). According to National Population Commission (NPC, 2006), persons who are old enough to receive pension who are between ages of 60-65 years are regarded as the elderly. The elderly are classified by age into young old for those aged 60-74years, middle old for those aged 75-84years, old for those aged 85-94 years and oldest old for those 95years and above. (Barman, Snyder, Kozier & Erb , 2008).
Care of the elderly is the fulfillment of the special needs and requirements that are unique to senior citizens. It covers such services as assisted living, adult day care, long term care, nursing homes, hospice care and home care. Elderly care emphasizes the social and personal requirements of senior citizens who need some assistance with daily activities and health care, but who desire to age with dignity. The care of the elderly is multidimensional and these include physical, emotional, spiritual and social care (Ayres, 2008).