Attitudes of health care workers working at family health centers in tokat towards ageism
Objective: Opinions and awareness of health care workers about elderliness and the aging process are important for developing a positive attitude towards elderly people. This study was carried out to determine the attitudes of heath care workers working at family health centers towards ageism.
Method: Population of the study which was a descriptive and cross-sectional study consisted of 101 healthcare workers in total working at Tokat city center between 05.04.2017 and 05.06.2017, whereas the sample of the study consisted of 71 volunteer health care workers in total. Data were collected via a Personal Information Form and Ageism Attitude Scale (AAS). For statistical analyses, the number and percentage, mean ± standard deviation, unpaired t-test, Mann Whitney U test and Kruskal Wallis tests were used.
Results: The average age of the workers of family health centers was 36,23±10,58 years. Of the health care workers 77,5% were female; 69,0% were single; 90,1% had spent the longest time of their lifetime in a city; and 71,8% were postgraduate. Of the healthcare workers 43,7% had equal income and expense; 87,3% had an elementary family; 39,4% were midwife; and 76,1% had an occupational experience of five years and more. There was no statistically significant difference between total and sub-dimension scores of AAS on the basis of age, economic condition, job and the length of occupational experience of the healthcare workers working at family health centers (p>0,05). There was no statistically significant difference between sub-dimension scores of ageism depending on the educational background of the health care workers (p > 0,05). However, ageism scores were higher in the post-graduates than the high-school graduates and the difference there between was statistically significant (p< 0,05). The total ageism score of the ones who took the responsibility for elderly care in the past among the family health care workers was found higher than that of the ones who did not take the same responsibility (p < 0,05). No statistically significant difference was found between the total average ageism scores according to the participant health care workers’ current elderly care responsibility, problems with elders during social relations, opinions about adaptation of the elders to the treatment, choices for the person to whom they prefer to give information about the elderly patients, and desire to have training about elderly health/care.
Conclusion: It can be said that the family health center workers had a positive attitude towards ageism, however their negative thoughts were increased as the level of education is decreased. It can be recommended to plan in-service vocational training programs such as courses, seminars and certificate programs related to aging and aging process to strengthen the positive attitudes of health professionals and to eliminate negative attitudes.