Study objectives: The health care needs of the elderly population are significantly different from those of younger patients and require special knowledge and skills on the part of emergency physicians. The purpose of this study was to identify the nature and extent of geriatric training currently provided to emergency medicine residents. Design: Self-administered survey distributed to residency directors of the 85 accredited emergency medicine residency programs in the United States. Interventions: The survey consisted of 17 questions focusing on residency directors' views about teaching and research of geriatric emergency care. Results: Survey information was obtained from 85 (100%) emergency medicine residency programs. Forty percent (34 of 85) of respondents believed the teaching of geriatric emergency care was inadequate; 44 programs (52%) plan to increase the number of didactic hours devoted to geriatrics (mean increase of 5.9 hours). The five geriatric topics most frequently taught included acute dementia, atypical presentation of illness, common complaints in the elderly, geriatric trauma, and ethical issues. Sixty-five percent believed ongoing national research efforts regarding geriatric emergency medicine were insufficient; 21 programs (25%) had faculty involved in geriatric studies. Most respondents reported that growing numbers of elderly will have a major impact on all areas of patient care in the near future. Conclusion: Although geriatric emergency care is becoming an integral part of the emergency medicine residency program, there may be a need for better focused and more intensive training.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine