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Jennifer C. Reneker 1 Article
Effects of an integrated geriatric group balance class within an entry-level Doctorate of Physical Therapy program on students’ perceptions of geriatrics and geriatric education in the United States  
Jennifer C. Reneker, Kyra Weems, Vincent Scaia
J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2016;13:35.   Published online October 25, 2016
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AbstractAbstract PDF
This study was aimed at determining the effect of an integrated group balance class for community-dwelling older adults within entry-level physical therapist coursework on student perceptions of geriatric physical therapy and geriatric physical therapy education. Twenty-nine Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students, 21–33 years old, in their second year of coursework in 2012, participated in an integrated clinical experience with exposure to geriatric patients at an outpatient facility at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Akron, Ohio, USA. Student perceptions were collected before and after participation in the 8-week balance class. The Wilcoxon sign-ranked test was used to identify differences in perceptions after participation in the group balance class. Cohen’s d-values were calculated to measure the size of the pre-participation to post-participation effect for each measure. At the conclusion of the group class, the DPT students demonstrated an increase in positive perceptions of geriatric physical therapy in 8 measures, with small effect sizes (d=0.15–0.30). Two perceptions of geriatric physical therapy demonstrated a significant positive increase (P<0.05) with moderate effect sizes (d=0.47 and d=0.50). The students’ perceptions of geriatric education in the curriculum demonstrated a large positive effect for quality (d=1.68) and enjoyment (d=1.96). Positive changes were found in most of the perceptions of geriatrics and geriatric education after participation, suggesting that integrated clinical experiences with geriatric patients are an effective way to positively influence perceptions of physical therapist practice with older adults.


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JEEHP : Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions