chapter  11
16 Pages

Death Concern and Attitudes Toward the Elderly in Nursing Home Personnel

As longevity increases in the United States, researchers have become interested in the nursing profession's role in providing care for the elderly (Taylor & Harned, 1978). However, the care received by the elderly is often marred by nurses' negative attitudes toward the aged (Martin & Buckwalter, 1984). Such negative attitudes are reflected in the scarcity of geriatric curricula in nursing education and the fact that most nurses choose to work with patients of younger age groups (Burnside, 1981). Similarly, Smith, Jepson, and Perloff (1982) argue that nursing staff at all levels display a lack of concern regarding geriatrics and typically have very little information about the elderly patient. The implication of these assertions is that negative attitudes on the part of nursing staff result in less than adequate care for the elderly (Alford, 1982; Burnside, 1981; Storlie, 1982). Thus, as a first step to improving health care for the aged, it is necessary to explore the underlying influences on nursing staff attitudes.