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Aging-simulation experience: impact on health professionals’ social representations

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Health professionals working with older persons are not sufficiently aware of the sensory and functional difficulties experienced by older patients. Innovative educational activities, such as the aging-simulation experience, can facilitate this awareness. This study describes the effects of an aging-simulation experience on health professionals' representations towards age-related limitations. METHODS: 306 health professionals, enrolled in university training in geriatrics/gerontology in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 academic years, experienced an aging-simulation session wearing a special suit according to a predefined scenario. Before and after the aging-simulation experience, participants completed free association tests, with the inductive words vision, hearing, movement, fine dexterity and balance. Semantic categories were created from participants' free evocations using a correspondence table manually produced in Excel 2013 for Windows (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington). Moreover, participants' opinions on difficulties experienced by older people in relation to age-related limitations were studied using Likert scale questions. RESULTS: In total, 3060 free evocations were collected, and ten semantic categories were created. These categories were composed of participants' geriatric knowledge, about age-related limitations, and participants' feelings, about the experience of these limitations. These two aspects were impacted by the aging-simulation experience. Moreover, changes observed resulted in a better consideration of difficulties associated with age-related limitations. CONCLUSIONS: The aging-simulation experience is an effective educational tool to raise awareness among health professionals of age-related difficulties. This sensory activity allows health professionals to put themselves in the shoes of older patients and to feel age-related difficulties.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 8, 2020 - 3:46:23 PM
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Julie Giner Perot, Witold Jarzebowski, Carmelo Lafuente-Lafuente, Cyril Crozet, Joël Belmin. Aging-simulation experience: impact on health professionals’ social representations. BMC Geriatrics, BioMed Central, 2020, 20 (1), pp.14. ⟨10.1186/s12877-019-1409-3⟩. ⟨hal-02537078⟩



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