Portuguese nurses' knowledge of and attitudes toward hospitalized older adults

João Paulo de Almeida Tavares, Alcione Leite da Silva, Pedro Sá-Couto, Marie Boltz, Elizabeth Capezuti

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46 Scopus citations


Portugal is impacted by the rapid growth of the aging population, which has significant implications for its health care system. However, nurses have received little education focusing on the unique and complex care needs of older adults. This gap in the nurses′ education has an enormous impact in their knowledge and attitudes and affects the quality of nursing care provided to older adults. A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1068 Portuguese nurses in five hospitals (northern and central region) with the following purposes: (i) explore the knowledge and attitudes of nurses about four common geriatric syndromes (pressure ulcer, incontinence, restraint use and sleep disturbance) in Portuguese hospitals; and (ii) evaluate the influence of demographic, professional and nurses' perception about hospital educational support, geriatric knowledge, and burden of caring for older adults upon geriatric nursing knowledge and attitudes. The mean knowledge and attitudes scores were 0.41 ± 0.15 and 0.40 ± 0.21, respectively (the maximum score was 1). Knowledge of nurses in Portuguese hospitals about the four geriatric syndromes (pressure ulcers, sleep disturbance, urinary incontinence and restraint use) was found inadequate. The nurses' attitudes towards caring for hospitalized older adults were generally negative. Nurses who work in academic hospitals demonstrated significantly more knowledge than nurses in hospital centers. The attitudes of nurses were significantly associated with the hospital and unit type, region, hospital educational support, staff knowledge, and perceived burden of caring for older adults. The study findings support the need for improving nurses' knowledge and attitudes towards hospitalized older adults and implementing evidence-based guidelines in their practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalScandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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