Care of the Older Patient
Overview and Application Process
The Care of the Older Patient concentration helps better prepare medical students to care for older adults in their professional careers, regardless of what clinical specialty they ultimately choose to pursue. Students participate in patient care in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. Faculty members work with students throughout the four-year program and assist in designing and completing a project. Completion of the concentration will be recognized in the commencement program and in a letter of accommodation placed in the student’s academic file.
Goals of the scholarly concentration include:
- Provide an integrated 4-year elective program of geriatric experiences.
- Increase knowledge base and sensitivity to the issues of aging adults.
- Introduce the principles of inpatient, outpatient, nursing home, and home care for the elderly.
- Learn function, social, cognitive, and physical assessment skills.
- Facilitate research activities and critical thinking.
Students who wish to participate in the Care of the Older Patient Scholarly Concentration should submit a one to two-page essay explaining why they are interested in completing the scholarly concentration program. Interested students are also encouraged to participate in activities of the Geriatric Medical Student Interest Group, including attending monthly lunchtime sessions. Students will be selected based on interest, demonstrated commitment to care of older patients, and prior experiences in geriatric care.
Program Structure and Highlights
The Care of Older Patient Scholarly Concentration has elements in all phases of the TEC Curriculum.
Students must complete at least one of the following during Foundation Phase:
- Participating in the elective MEDI 286 – Special Topics on Aging.
- Participating in the Medical Student Training for Aging Research Program (MSTAR) or other aging-related research mentored by a member of the geriatrics faculty during the summer between first and second years.
- Completion of at least 20 hours of community service with agencies that support older adults.
Must complete one of the following during Application Phase:
- Hospital, Interventional, and Surgical Care Course – be assigned to the Acute Care of the Elderly in-patient unit (Med A) at UNC Hospitals Hillsborough Campus or to any other specialized hospital units for the elderly
- Care of Specific Populations Course – In the component “Patients with Neurologic and Psychiatric Illness” students will receive concentration credit for experiences in geriatric psychiatry
- Community Based Longitudinal Care Course – students must use at least four half days of their self-directed learning time in one or more of the following settings. Asheville students may similarly complete 4 half days of their self-directed learning time in one or more of the following settings:
- Geriatrics specialty clinics
- Continuing care retirement communities
- Assisted living communities
- Home visits to elderly patients in their homes
- Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)
- Home hospice
- Inpatient Hospice
- Skilled Nursing Facility
Students must complete at least one four-week elective/selective in geriatrics during the Individualization Phase. Options that will count toward the Care of the Older Patient Scholarly Concentration include:
- Hospice and Palliative Care, Western NC (FMME 441-3)
- Senior Women’s Health (OBGN 401)
- Hospice and Palliative Care, Wilmington Campus (MEDI 532)
- Geriatric Medicine (MEDI 537)
- Acting Internship in Inpatient Internal Medicine, Asheville VA Medical Center (MEDI 545-2)
- Palliative Care Selective (MEDI 464-3)
- Geriatric Oncology (MEDI 510-3)
- Geriatric Emergency Medicine and Transitions of Care (ERMD 423)
- Interdisciplinary Geriatric Care in a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) (FMME 473-3)
- Hospice and Palliative Care, Charlotte Campus (FMME 488)
- Geriatrics in Family Medicine, Charlotte Campus (FMME 489-3)
Other rotations (not listed here) may be considered for meeting this requirement. Please e-mail concentration leaders to get approval first.
Additional Enrichment Activities
- Geriatrics Interest Group activities (lunches, etc.)
- Biannual Geriatrics Journal Club
- Volunteer opportunities
- Become an SCP Chief and help shape future SCP programming
A scholarly project mentored by a member of the geriatrics faculty.