The curriculum ensures a foundation for competent compassionate care of older patients. It is focused on acquiring proficiencies in the attitudes, knowledge and skills needed for elder care. The goals include:
An appreciation of the heterogeneity of the aging population in terms of values, ambition, capabilities and personalities
An understanding of the importance of optimizing function for older patients, rather than an exclusively disease focused approach
An empathy towards issues related to death and dying including the principles of palliative care
A recognition of the essentially interdisciplinary nature of caring for the biopsychological needs of older patients.
Proficiency in knowledge will encompass an overview of the basic science of normal and abnormal aging as well as the essentials of clinical geriatrics. Knowledge and experience will be gained of the common geriatric syndromes including altered mental status, iatrogenesis, mobility including falls, sensory deficits, failure to thrive, sleep disorders, pressure ulcers, incontinence and non-specific presentation of disease. Risk reduction and preventive care will be emphasized. Also, emphasis will be placed on health promotion and disorder prevention of importance to the elderly as well as the ethical, legal, humanistic and financial aspects of geriatric care including advanced directives, decision-making capacity and end-of-life care.
The skills to be learned focus on geriatric assessment using standardized methods for assessing physical, cognitive, emotional and social functions as appropriate. These include screening for mental status, depression, functional status including mobility assessment, activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living.
There is no final examination in this clerkship. Grading is pass, high pass, honors or fail. To achieve honors, an honors project is required.
The Clerkship includes a lecture series on Palliative Care with emphasis on the EPEC Curriculum, a site visit to Calvary Hospital and direct clinical experiences at the individual sites. A palliative care website is available for student participation and will be an additional requirement for completion of this segment.