Lege Artis Medicinae

[ASSESSMENT OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND THE ATTITUDES TO AGEING OF ELDERLY PEOPLE]

TRÓZNAI Tibor, KULLMANN Lajos

FEBRUARY 22, 2007

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2007;17(02)

[BACKGROUND - The WHOQOL-OLD questionnaire was developed in a multicultural way. The authors were involved in this work as members of the international task force. In order to improve services for the elderly by learning their attitudes to ageing, an Attitudes to Ageing Questionnaire (AAQ) was also developed by the working group. In the present study the authors assessed a sample of Hungarian elderly people by these two methods. Answers by elderly persons related to their quality of life, social and health conditions, as well as their attitude to ageing were analysed. PERSONS AND METHOD - A total of 333 (190 unhealthy and 143 healthy) persons over sixty years of age filled in the questionnaires either by themselves or through verbal interview. The participants’ compliance with the research was generally good. The study sample reflected the general features of the Hungarian elderly population. For statistical analysis the Microsoft SPSS for Windows version 11.0 programme was used. RESULTS - Better health condition, better mood, and a better ability for self-care improve the quality of life. Better attitudes to ageing are associated with better quality of life. CONCLUSIONS - The use of the WHOQOLOLD questionnaire is recommended in the daily practice to assess elderly Hungarians’ quality of life. The results highlight the significance of mental health in the development of the elderly persons’ attitude to ageing. The use of the new questionnaires may help change negative stereotypes related to ageing.]

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[INTRODUCTION - The aim of our research was to evaluate the effect of courses for health care workers and medical students that deal with death, dying and bereavement and that of courses on hospice care of dying patients. The goal of the courses is to make communication on death more open by exploring critical issues related to fear of death to reduce inner anxiety and to improve attitude to dying patients. PARTICIPANTS AND METHOD - Participants (n=168) completed Neimeyer and Moore's Multi-dimensional Fear of Death Scale (MFODS) and Shortened Beck Depression Questionnaire (BDI) on the first and last day of the courses. In case of health care workers a follow-up survey was also performed 2 to 3 months after the course (n=32). RESULTS - The most significant factors of fear of death are: fear for significant others, fear of the dying process and fear of premature death. Overall fear of death scores are reduced as an effect of the courses, the alteration of the components of fear of death depends on the participants’ gender, age and profession as well. Improvement was observed in both groups in attitudes that can be related to the increase of knowledge on the quality care of dying patients like fear from the process of dying and fear from conscious experience of death. CONCLUSION - Besides education containing training as well it is important to strengthen the support function of workplaces in caring for the mental health of the health care staff. Furthermore it is important during gradual education that students participate in courses that aim to achieve opened communication in the most anxiety-evoking issues.]

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