Research Article| Volume 14, ISSUE 4, P439-444, July 1996

The geriatric obstacle course: A training session designed to help prehospital personnel recognize geriatric stereotypes and misconceptions

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      A significant proportion of ambulance transports to the Emergency Department involve elderly patients, and this use of EMS services by the elderly is expected to increase. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) may have preconceived notions about the behavior they observe in this group of patients, who tend to be difficult to assess. To provide EMTs with the perspective from which their elderly patients view the situations in which they find themselves, we developed and implemented training scenarios in which the EMTs were required to play the role of the geriatric patient. The EMTs' evaluations of the sessions were enthusiastically positive and indicated that the course did enable them to reevaluate their attitudes toward elderly patients. It is our conviction that this type of sensitivity training is an easily implemented and highly valuable method of augmenting the facts and algorithms taught to these prehospital care providers.


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