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Training program may improve police officers' ability to help older adults

May 03, 2017

After participating in a training program in aging-related health, police officers anticipated having more empathy for and awareness of aging-related conditions, and greater ability to provide older adults with appropriate community referrals.

For the program, police officers attended a lecture on aging-related health conditions pertinent to police work followed by three experiential trainings on how it feels to be "old."

All 143 participants completed the evaluation; 84% reported interacting with older adults at least monthly and 45% reported daily interactions. Participants rated the training quality at 4.6/5 and the likelihood they would apply new knowledge to their work at 4.4/5. Knowledge scores increased for all domains, including how to identify aging-related health conditions that can affect safety during police interactions.

"Police officers are increasingly interacting with medically vulnerable older adults in our communities. This training helps to give police the knowledge and skills that are needed for safe and effective community policing for older adults," said Dr. Rebecca Brown, lead author of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study.
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Wiley

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