Teaching Tools to Teach Geriatric Medicine to Family Medicine Residents

Research Article

Gerontol Geriatr Res. 2021; 7(1): 1050.

Teaching Tools to Teach Geriatric Medicine to Family Medicine Residents

Jaqua EE*, Nguyen V, Jubran A, Park S and Wijatyk A

Department of Family Medicine, Loma Linda University Health, Loma Linda, USA

*Corresponding author: Ecler Jaqua, 1200 California Street, Suite 240, Redlands, CA 92374, USA

Received: April 13, 2021; Accepted: April 23, 2021; Published: April 30, 2021


Objective: To determine if pocket-sized, reference guides are helpful tools for teaching geriatric medicine to family medicine residents.

Setting: Loma Linda University Healthcare Education Consortium, a family medicine residency in San Bernardino County, California.

Participants: Family medicine residents that successfully completed the required geriatrics rotation between July 2019 and June 2020.

Results: From the twelve family medicine residents, 100% believed their geriatric medicine rotation helped them to be successful in residency. The preferred study tool was the pocket guides, mainly the “Geriatric Medicine Pocket Guide” and “2019 AGS Beers Criteria”. For a more comprehensive reading, the study tool most used was search engines such as Up-to-date and Dynamed. Geriatrics at Your Fingertips (Reuben et al., 2016) and the “Guiding Principles for the Care of Older Adults with Multimorbidity Pocket Card” were not as helpful due to the perceived increased efforts to rapidly find clinically relevant information.

Conclusion: Pocket guides, especially “Geriatric Medicine Pocket Guide” and “2019 AGS Beers Criteria”, are helpful teaching tools that can be used to augment geriatric medicine education in a family medicine residency.

Keywords: Geriatric; Residents; Population


The geriatric population in the United States is projected to expand exponentially by approximately 2.3 million people per year until 2030 [1,2]. However, the current healthcare system is suspected to fall short of board-certified geriatricians to serve this growing population. Due to this anticipated shortage, it is of utmost importance to train primary care physicians to care for our geriatric community.

The care of the geriatric population is unique in that the physiology of aging can obscure acute processes, potentially delaying the diagnosis of common diseases such as pneumonia, cystitis, and myocardial infarction [3]. Moreover, age-related assessments for falls, incontinence, and neurocognitive changes need to be employed consistently to address geriatric syndromes that can affect a patient’s functionality and ability to successfully live independently. These syndromes can be more pronounced with the increased prevalence of polypharmacy [4,5]. Specific to the geriatric population, anticholinergic and sedating drugs can prove detrimental to a patient’s functionality [4,5].

With this growing geriatric population, there is an increasing need for excellent, high quality geriatric care. This need could be filled by family physicians as many reports that their practices are becoming predominantly geriatric. To ensure excellent, high quality care, geriatric medicine and its nuances should be taught at the beginning of a physician’s career, starting during primary care residency training. Currently, per the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), family medicine residency programs require a 4-week rotation in geriatric medicine and longitudinal curriculum of nursing home custodial care in the final 2 years of residency training. Previous studies have employed interprofessional models or published resources, such as Pocket Medicine, to teach care for the geriatric population [6].

This is a quality improvement study, focused on developing geriatric medicine proficiency for the family medicine resident physicians of the Loma Linda University Healthcare Education Consortium. This study aims to standardize, and evaluate the efficacy, of geriatric medicine education using 3 pocket cards and a book as its main teaching modalities.


The ACGME-required rotation is 4 weeks long, incorporating a mix of outpatient, general geriatrics and coordination of care with trauma and orthopedic surgery at the skilled nursing facilities. Also, the family medicine resident physicians participated in the care of geriatric patients in a longitudinal nursing home curriculum with board-certified geriatricians.

At the start of the geriatric medicine rotation, each resident received 3 pocket cards and a book for formal reference throughout the rotation.

• “Geriatric Medicine Pocket Guide” (Figure 1) was created by LLUH Geriatric Medicine Division and costs $5.00 each to print and laminate. It focused on age-related assessments of geriatric syndromes such as falls and incontinence.