However, bias decreased in students who had treated the elderly in the school's clinics during the year.
Jude Fabiano, D.D.S., associate professor of restorative dentistry in the UB School of Dental Medicine, reported the findings today (March 13, 2004) at the International Association of Dental Research meeting in Hawaii.
Fabiano acknowledged that treating elderly patients can be frustrating. "They may miss an appointment because they are caring for a spouse, or because they rely on others for transportation," he said. "They may bring personal issues into the clinic. Providers can become impatient."
Knowing some overall concerns of, and limitations on, the elderly would help dental providers have more empathy for their senior patients, Fabiano hypothesized.
With that theory in mind, he and colleagues from the UB School of Dental Medicine and UB School of Social Work presented a lecture, small group seminar or similar program devoted to issues affecting the elderly to each dental school class (year 1 through year 4) in 2002. Before the program, students filled out a standard survey, Palmore's Facts on Aging Quiz II, designed to assess their age bias. The survey contained 25 questions gauged to assess general knowledge of health issues in aging. All students took the quiz again at the end of the school year.
Fabiano and colleagues tabulated scores from the pre- and post-test to arrive at a net bias score (the positive bias score minus
Contact: Lois Baker
University at Buffalo