Evaluation of a Dementia Education Program for Family Medicine Residents
Prorok, Jeanette C
MetadataShow full item record
Background: Dementia diagnosis and management is increasing in importance in the training of future family physicians. This research evaluated the effects of a dementia education program on family medicine residents’ knowledge, attitudes and confidence with respect to dementia assessment and management. A questionnaire was developed and validated for these purposes. Additionally, a focus group was conducted with family physicians to generate recommendations for improving dementia education in family medicine residency programs. Methods: The questionnaire consisted of a knowledge-based component, a component ascertaining preferences working with various age groups, and an attitudinal/comfort component. Test-retest reliability was assessed, in addition to validity by way of cognitive interviews. A content validity matrix was also completed. Family medicine residents participating in the dementia education program were asked to complete the questionnaire at baseline, interim and following program completion. Willing residents also participated in program feedback interviews. After approximately three months, residents completed the questionnaire for long-term follow-up. Differences in scores were examined between the participants and a comparison group of family medicine residents without program exposure. Qualitative data from the feedback interviews and the focus group were transcribed and analyzed for common themes. Results: Each questionnaire component demonstrated high internal consistency (Cronbach’s α: 0.83-0.91) and high intraclass correlation coefficients (0.74-0.91). Residents who had participated in the program scored significantly higher on the knowledge component compared to residents who did not, in addition to reporting greater comfort. Qualitative data indicated that residents found the program to be a valuable part of their residency education. Focus group results indicate that family physicians recommend the provision of early positive experiences facilitated by mentors, through a competency-based curriculum. Discussion: The developed questionnaire is a reliable measure for assessing dementia knowledge, attitudes and confidence. Results from the dementia education program show that it is effective in improving family medicine residents’ knowledge on dementia diagnosis and management, as well as in increasing comfort levels. Qualitative data from feedback interviews indicate strong endorsement of the program by its participants. Recommendations generated from the focus group were found to be relevant to dementia education and potentially more broadly to geriatric education.