Purpose: Future speech-language pathologists are often unprepared in their academic training to serve the communicative and cognitive needs of older adults with dementia. While negative attitudes toward older adults are prevalent among undergraduate students, service learning has been shown to positively affect students' attitudes toward older adults. TimeSlips is an evidence-based approach that has been shown to improve health care students' attitudes toward older adults. The purpose of this study is to explore the change in attitudes in speech-language pathology students toward older adults using TimeSlips in service learning.
Method: Fifty-one students participated in TimeSlips service learning with older adults and completed the Dementia Attitude Scale (DAS) before and after service learning. In addition, students completed a reflection journal. The DAS data were analyzed using nonparametric statistics, and journal entries were analyzed using a qualitative analysis approach.
Results: The service learners exhibited a significant increase in positive attitude as indexed on the DAS. The reflective journal entries supported the positive change in attitudes.
Conclusions: A noticeable attitude shift was indexed in reflective journals and on the DAS. TimeSlips is an evidence-based, patient-centered approach well suited to address challenges in the preparation of Communication Sciences and Disorders students to work with the growing population of older adults.