A Simulation Exercise to Raise Learners' Awareness of the Physical and Cognitive Changes in Older Adults

Izabella Dutra De Abreu, Marilyn Hinojosa-Lindsey, Ali Abbas Asghar-Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: The growing number of older adults with cognitive impairment is increasing the need for healthcare services. However, there is a great shortage of geriatric trained primary care providers and psychiatrists. A positive attitude towards people with cognitive impairment is associated with better quality of life among residents of long-term care settings. This led us to develop a simulation exercise to raise learners' awareness of, and attentiveness to, physical and cognitive changes experienced by the aging population. Methods: Fifty-one learners rotating through Psychiatry at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center received the 10-min training over 1 year. The Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire was used to measure attitudes towards older persons with cognitive impairment. Pre- and postsimulation data subscores for the Hope, Person-centered, and total score were calculated, and a paired sample t test was conducted. Results: Results of the questionnaire showed statistically significant improvement in the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire scores among participants after they completed the simulation exercise, indicating an increase in positive attitudes. The mean difference in the total score of the Approaches to Dementia Questionnaire was 3.22, with a 95% CI of 1.67 to 4.74, t = 4.20, df (47), p <.000, r =.64, and a medium effect size of d =.61. Conclusions: On the basis of these findings, the simulation exercise can be used for improving learners' attitudes towards those with cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)684-687
Number of pages4
JournalAcademic Psychiatry
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Geriatrics, education
  • Medical students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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