Background: Clinical practice guidelines for dementia highlight the importance of providing patient-centered care. This can be achieved by improving health professionals' attitudes and knowledge toward people with dementia. Objective: Quantitatively evaluate the impact of a virtual dementia experience on medical and pharmacy students' knowledge and attitudes toward people with dementia. Methods: A non-randomized controlled study from September-October 2016. The intervention group received a 1.5-hour multisensory, virtual simulation of light, sound, color, and visual content to experience the cognitive and perceptual difficulties faced by people with dementia. Controls participated in the standard curriculum only. All students were invited to complete the 20-item Dementia Attitudes Scale (DAS) pre- and post-intervention. Results: A total of 278 students (n = 64 medical, n = 214 pharmacy) were analyzed (n = 80 intervention, n = 198 control). The majority of students were female (n = 184, 66.2%), with an average age of 22.5 years. The intervention improved the DAS total score and subdomains of comfort and knowledge (p < 0.001). Conclusion: The intervention had a positive impact on medical and pharmacy students' knowledge and attitudes toward people with dementia.
- Alzheimer's disease