The goal of the UGME curriculum in geriatrics is to provide the foundation for competent, compassionate care of older patients, particularly the frail elderly.
The Canadian population is undergoing important transitions. The first is a demographic transition, with both the relative and absolute numbers of the population over 65 years of age increasing. Within this population, there is also a shift towards the old-old, the population over 85 years of age. This shift is linked to an epidemiological transition. Improving socio-economic status, changes in lifestyle, and progress in therapeutics and technology have contributed to increased life expectancy.
A significant proportion of older Canadians consider themselves to be in good health and lead active and independent lives in the community. However, as a result of the cumulative effects of age-related changes and acute and chronic medical problems, over 20 percent of the elderly population are frail and have what is referred to as a “geriatric profile.” They are generally over 75 years old, have significant limitations in basic and instrumental Activities of Daily Living (ADL), and suffer from multiple acute and chronic medical diseases, with social support systems that are overextended and at risk of breaking down. This group requires a complex combination of medical and social support services across hospital, community, rehabilitation and long-term care settings.
The basis of geriatrics is the assessment and management of frail elderly who have a combination of complex acute and chronic medical problems and functional disabilities. It includes an understanding for and facilitation of continuity of care across settings, in particular the transition from hospital to the community. This foundation will be useful for future physicians, not only in the practice of geriatric medicine, but also in other medical and surgical specialties, since it encompasses the attitudes, knowledge and skills that practitioners need to care for older people.
Integrated Clerkship: During the four weeks of the integrated clerkship in geriatrics, the student will work and learn in a diversified environment.