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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2011 Jan;59(1):143-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03235.x.

The effect of geriatric and palliative medicine education on the knowledge and attitudes of internal medicine residents.

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Division of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, Texas, USA.


A recent Institute of Medicine report on geriatric work force issues recommends training residents in settings with geriatric patients and increasing certification requirements to include competence in the care of older adults. Although the number of internal medicine programs with a geriatric curriculum has increased, the scope and effectiveness of these programs vary. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of a new academic geriatric and palliative medicine curriculum on the knowledge and attitudes of third-year internal medicine and fourth-year medicine and pediatrics residents. The study was conducted at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston. A new Division of Geriatric and Palliative medicine was created that offered inpatient, consultation, ambulatory, and home visit experiences in addition to didactic lectures. The University of Michigan Geriatrics Clinical Decision Making Assessment and the University of California at Los Angeles Geriatric Attitude Test was used to evaluate pre- and post-rotation knowledge and attitudes. Residents' knowledge improved after completing the rotation, as shown by a 6.9-point increase in posttest scores (P<.001). There was also a 10-point improvement in pretest scores over the course of the year (P=.03). Fifty-seven percent of residents had an improvement in attitude. This study shows that an increase in geriatric and palliative teaching opportunities provided by the establishment of a geriatric and palliative medicine division improves residents' knowledge significantly.

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