Geriatric Psychiatry

Description of Program:

McGill’s Geriatric Psychiatry Residency Program grew from an historically strong geriatric psychiatry fellowship program. The goal of the Geriatric Psychiatry residency program is to provide and ensure high-quality training in Geriatric Psychiatry for senior psychiatry residents (PGY-5) and qualified psychiatrists (PGY-6). This training will prepare residents for certification and practice as independent consultants in Geriatric Psychiatry. The residents will advance in the level of their fulfillment of all CanMEDS roles, in order to be able to provide excellent and comprehensive direct psychiatric care for the most complex geriatric patients and their families/caregivers, as well as support, education, and consultation for their psychiatric, medical, allied health, and community colleagues. They will attain, and be prepared to maintain and perfect, a sophisticated and profound understanding of diagnostic and therapeutic issues pertaining to geriatric psychiatry, grounded in a nuanced approach to issues of gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, culture, ethnicity, and ethics. They will be prepared to advance knowledge and improve service delivery in this field, while upholding a high standard of professionalism.

Residents in the Geriatric Psychiatry program will attain advanced level knowledge of normal and abnormal aspects of aging, systems of care and resources available for the elderly, psychotherapeutic constructs, psychopharmacology and somatic therapies, mental health legislation and regulations, principles of capacity and consent, caregiver issues, elder abuse, end-of life issues, anxiety disorders, behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia, dementia and its common subtypes, delirium, mood disorders, primary and secondary movement disorders, psychiatric disorders secondary to medical conditions, psychiatric complications of medical and neurological illnesses, and schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. They will also attain knowledge of adjustment disorders, alcohol and other substance use disorders, developmental disabilities, personality disorders, sleep disorders, and somatoform disorders.

Strengths of the Program

  • Collegial atmosphere oriented to the resident as an adult learner
  • Small program, training a maximum of two residents per year, allowing flexibility and individualized tailoring of training to support the educational and career goals of each resident
  • Fully Royal College-accredited and well-integrated with the general Psychiatry Residency Program and the Department of Psychiatry
  • A dedicated research director, Dr. Soham Rej, assists residents in planning an advanced scholarly project in research or quality assurance
  • For residents interested in completing an educational project in lieu of research, access to the McGill Institute of Health Sciences Education including their annual period-6 course “Foundations in Medical and Health Sciences Education”
  • Funded access to the Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry Online Review Course in PGY-6 as part of the formal curriculum to prepare residents for their certifying exam
  • Access to specialized rotations including a behavioural dementia inpatient unit, BPSD outreach teams, a dedicated geriatric psychiatry inpatient unit, a psychiatric memory clinic, and neuropsychiatry
  • No call duties during the PGY-6 year, though there are still opportunities to see geriatric psychiatry patients in the emergency room setting

Academic Curriculum

A formal academic curriculum provided during the PGY-6 year will support the attainment of the knowledge expected of a geriatric psychiatrist. The curriculum will include an academic half-day as well as self-directed learning via the CAGP Online Review Course. Residents will also participate in dedicated geriatric psychiatry journal clubs at each training site.

Structure and Content of Training

The Program is designed to meet the Royal College Specialty Training Requirements (STR), and will work with each individual resident to plan training that is tailored within those requirements to further his or her career goals. As of July 2020, the Program will be transitioning to CBME/CBD and the type and sequence of rotations will change slightly to meet the new Royal College Training Experiences requirements which replace the STR.

In summary, the STR mandates a minimum 24 month* training period, of which 18-21 months are clinical. This must include:

  • At least 12 months of core clinical geriatric psychiatry, 6 months of which must be completed in the PGY-6 year. The core clinical rotations include at least two months each of inpatient, outpatient, and outreach/long-term care geriatric psychiatry.
  • At least 3 months of medical selectives, including at least 1 month of geriatric medicine.
  • Up to 3 months of geriatric psychiatry electives.
  • 3-6 months of advanced training in education, research, service development/administration, or other, depending on career planning.

*12 months can be completed in PGY-4 and PGY-5 years; note that the PGY-6 year must include a minimum of 6 months of core clinical geriatric psychiatry rotations.

With the upcoming transition to CBME we will do our best to maintain the flexibility and individually tailored training that are major strengths of our program.

Eligibility and Positions Available

Note that only RCPSC-certified Psychiatrists are eligible for RCPSC certification in Geriatric Psychiatry. Applicants must be eligible for RCPSC certification in the entry specialty of Psychiatry. Self-funded training is not permitted for Royal College Subspecialty training programs. The number of available funded positions in the training program is determined by the Ministry of Health of Quebec on an annual basis. In recent years, McGill has been able to offer one position to a Quebec applicant (contingent regulier) and one position to an out-of-province Canadian applicant (contingent particulier).

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