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International Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease
Volume 2016, Article ID 2785105, 7 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/2785105
Research Article

Medical Students’ Perceptions of Dementia after Participation in Poetry Workshop with People with Dementia

New Jersey Institute for Successful Aging, Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine, Stratford, NJ 08084, USA

Received 9 November 2015; Accepted 22 December 2015

Academic Editor: Francesco Panza

Copyright © 2016 Alaina J. Garrie et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Purpose. Researchers assessed whether medical students’ participation in a poetry workshop with people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) affected their attitudes towards persons with ADRD. Objective. To add to the growing body of research summarizing the impact of nonclinical interventions on medical students’ perspectives about people with ADRD. Design. Researchers used dementia attitudes scale (DAS) and interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) to analyze participants’ attitudes. Setting. Osteopathic medical school and dementia care unit in the state of New Jersey. Participants. Eleven out of fourteen medical students completed the study. Measurements. Emerging themes were classified from the postintervention semistructured interviews and descriptive statistics were used to compare the preintervention to postintervention DAS. Results. Researchers found statistically significant differences between preintervention and postintervention DAS scores. Study participants scored a preintervention DAS mean, 107.09 (SD = 11.85), that changed positively and significantly to the postintervention DAS mean, 121.82 (SD = 10.38). DAS subdomains, “comfort” () and “knowledge” , and eleven of the twenty DAS items underwent a positive and statistically significant shift from preintervention to postintervention. IPA of the interviews yielded five primary and five secondary themes, supporting the measured statistical outcomes. Conclusion. Medical students’ participation in a poetry workshop, with people with ADRD, positively impacts their attitudes.