Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has affected many areas of the world recently and is becoming a global problem. Hong Kong and China have been most severely affected by this new infectious disease. The elderly population is highly vulnerable, and mortality in those older than 65 years is more than 50%. In our study, 27 health care workers and 40 elderly residents in a nursing home were interviewed to investigate their level of knowledge of SARS and its prevention. Most of the elderly residents knew little regarding SARS and prevention strategies, despite access to outside news by TV, radio, and visitors. Also, the worry and fear of an outbreak of SARS among staff working in the nursing home was considered to be high. Tailored education programs to promote awareness and prevention of SARS for the elderly are need. Also, more in-service training, support, and counseling are strongly indicated for staff to promote disease prevention and improve quality of care.
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