BACKGROUND: The proportion of older adults and individuals with disabilities in the general population increases each year. Thus, clinical clerkships designed for physiotherapy interns should provide more than simply knowledge and skills. For such interns to be able to handle the requirements of their future jobs, clerkships must enable them to develop empathy and positive attitudes toward patients. This study investigated the effect of simulation-based, holistic health-care education on physiotherapy interns' empathy, attitudes, and knowledge. METHODS: A parallel-group design. Thirty physiotherapy interns from a medical institution were enrolled as participants, with experimental and control groups each comprising 15 participants. Both groups received standard clinical training. However, the experimental group received an additional 3.5 h of simulation-based holistic health-care education. The Jefferson Scale of Empathy, Kogan's Attitudes Toward Old People Scale, the Attitudes Towards the Elderly Scale, the Knowledge About Aging Scale, Knowledge of the Situation of Older People Scale, Perceptions of Working with Older People Scale, and Care Willingness Scale were used in a pretest and posttest.

RESULTS: After the intervention period, we observed substantial between-group differences of 6.4 points on the Jefferson Scale of Empathy (p = 0.001), 7.7 points on Kogan's Attitudes Toward Old People Scale (p = 0.002), 3.5 points on the Attitudes Toward the Elderly Scale (p = 0.002), 2.5 points on Knowledge About Aging (p = 0.055), 4.5 points on the Knowledge of the Situation of Older People Scale (p < 0.001), and 2.1 points on Perceptions of Working with Older People Scale (p = 0.046).

CONCLUSION: Simulation-based, holistic health-care education can significantly improve the empathy, knowledge, and attitudes of physiotherapy interns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Disabled Persons
  • Empathy
  • Humans
  • Physical Therapy Modalities


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