OBJECTIVES: Studies of dementia knowledge (including dementia risk reduction) in health-care trainees highlight varying levels of understanding across countries and disciplines. This draws attention to the need for a well-trained health workforce with the knowledge to champion and implement such strategies. This study (a) assessed dementia knowledge and health literacy among a sample of Australian health-care students, (b) identified modality preferences of digital health interventions addressing dementia prevention and (c) examined potential relationships among health literacy, dementia knowledge, dementia prevention knowledge and a student's preferences for different digital health modalities.
METHODS: A cross-sectional survey assessed dementia knowledge and health literacy in 727 health students across 16 Australian universities representing both metropolitan and regional cohorts. The All Aspects of Health Literacy Scale and the Dementia Knowledge Assessment Scale were administered. Questions about the perceived effectiveness of strategies and preferred digital health modalities for dementia prevention/risk reduction were asked.
RESULTS: The students had relatively high health literacy scores. However, dementia knowledge and evidence-based dementia prevention knowledge were average. Only 7% claimed knowledge of available dementia-related digital health interventions. Associations among health literacy, dementia knowledge and dementia prevention, with recommendations for different digital modalities, are presented.
CONCLUSIONS: Health-related degrees need to increase dementia knowledge, health literacy and knowledge of effective dementia-related digital health interventions. It is imperative to equip the future health workforce amid an ageing population with increased dementia rates and where evidence-based digital health interventions will increasingly be a source of support.
DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT