A comparison of acute and long-term health-care personnel’s attitudes towards older adults


Stephen Gallagher, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. Email: sxg598@bham.ac.uk


Considerable variations in the quality of care older adults receive may depend much on the attitude of staff towards them. The attitudes of nurses, assistant personnel and porters towards older adults were assessed. Determinants affecting this judgement, such as age, gender, education, years in practice and care setting, were also assessed. Ninety-nine (acute) and 87 (long-term) hospital employees completed the self-report Kogan’s Attitude Towards Old People scale. Significant statistical differences in negative attitudes were found between assistant personnel and nurses and between porters and nurses; these non-professionals believed that older adults were irritable, grouchy, complaining and untidy. Practice area had no influence on attitudes; attitudes were, however, significantly predicted by education levels. Findings suggest that, irrespective of setting, assistant personnel and porters possess significantly greater negative attitudes towards older adults than nursing staff. Furthermore, these negative attitudes seem to be a function of lower educational achievement. Implications for informing practice, education and policy-makers are discussed.