Almost one out of eight Americans is 65 years of age and older. This number will more than double during the next 30 years. The management of multiple chronic illnesses and geriatric syndromes requires a different approach than the traditional “curative” medical model. To ensure our students have an appreciation for the nuances of caring for the aging population, the college has developed curricula that seeks to improve the student’s sensitivity and knowledge regarding geriatric issues.
The Principles of Palliative Care curriculum was designed to enhance the medical student’s skills and knowledge regarding the relief and prevention of suffering in patients with advanced or life-threatening illnesses.
Mariana Dangiolo, M.D. Andrea Berry, M.P.A.
- Explain the impact of age-related physiologic changes on drug selection and pharmacologic effects of medications.
- Define and distinguish the clinical presentations, diagnostic evaluation, and management of delirium, dementia, and depression in older adults.
- Assess and describe baseline functional abilities (such as activities of daily living) by collection of history from multiple collateral sources in older adults.
- Assess and describe fall risk and balance disorders in older adults, developing diagnostic and treatment strategies where needed.
- Define and differentiate among types of advance directives, health care proxies, and code status in local health care systems.
- Identify age-related physiologic changes in various organ systems.
- Discuss palliative care and hospice treatment options in the context of end-of-life care.
- Assess and provide diagnostic and palliative treatment strategies for pain and non-pain suffering consistent with older adult patients’ goals of care.
- Identify potential hazards of hospitalization for older adult patients (including functional decline, delirium, medication side effects, malnutrition, pressure ulcer, and hospital acquired infections).
- Explain the clinical indications, risks, , and possible alternatives to indwelling urinary catheters in older adults.
- Explain risks, indications, and alternatives to physical and pharmacological restraint in patients with dementia and delirium.
- Define and distinguish the clinical presentations, diagnostic evaluation, and management of unintentional weight loss in older adults.
- Identify potential safety hazards that increase the risk of falls in older adults.
- Identify basic concepts of palliative care and its role within the continuum of care.
- Discuss the etiology of pain and the diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for evaluation and management of pain.
- Identify the pathophysiology and management options of other common distressing symptoms at the end of life (such as dyspnea, nausea, dysphagia, stomatitis, etc.).
- Identify the psychological symptoms associated with advanced/terminal illness (such as depression, anxiety, restlessness, agitation, etc.).
- Identify basic ethical & legal issues surrounding end-of-life care (such as advance directives, feeding & hydration, withholding & withdrawal of treatment, etc.).
- Explain the concept of patient-centered care.