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General education of physicians in the care of older individuals

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Abstract

The population of older Canadians is large and will grow over the coming years. As a group they place unique and substantive demands on the health care system. The general education of Canadian physicians in their care has been a long-standing concern. In this article we review undergraduate, postgraduate (excluding training in care of the elderly, geriatric medicine, and geriatric psychiatry), and continuing medical education. A series of recommendations are made to further the agenda of improved training in the care of older persons for physicians who are not undergoing specialty training in geriatrics.

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An invitational meeting on the future of geriatrics in Canada was held in Banff, Alberta, on the 19th of April 2007. The purpose of the meeting was to examine the challenges facing the field and explore potential strategies for overcoming them. Participants agreed on eight recommendations for moving geriatrics forward in our country: (1) a national coalition should be established for raising the profile of aging and improving its image; (2) the Canadian Geriatrics Society (CGS) should strike a working group to develop a document identifying what distinguishes geriatricians from other physicians; (3) geriatricians need to join those committees and organizations both within and outside government where funding decisions are made; (4) CGS should determine by appropriate methods what best practices in Canada are for specialized geriatric services and the management of common clinical challenges encountered in older patients such as delirium and falls; (5) CGS should determine by appropriate methods which health outcomes are relevant to the care of older patients and sensitive to the impact of specialized geriatric services; (6) while continuing to allow entry for those with an internal medicine background into subspecialty training in geriatric medicine, the addition of other entry routes into geriatric medicine training programs should be explored; (7) a meeting of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Specialty Committee in Geriatric Medicine and the College of Family Physicians of Canada Care of Elderly Committee should be held to explore areas of common interest in the education of physicians with additional training in geriatrics; and (8) CGS should review its current expenditures on education and examine their effectiveness. Based on this review, CGS should develop and implement a long-term educational strategy that would include mechanisms to evaluate its effectiveness in promoting recruitment into geriatrics.
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No abstract available. (C) 1992 Association of American Medical Colleges
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