The changing medical needs of the growing 65-and-over population in the United States are not being met by current medical education, University of Cincinnati (UC) researchers warn.
What is required, they say, is more standardized geriatric training across all medical specialties. An article in the March 2005 issue of Academic Medicine says older adults are making more visits to nonprimary-care specialists and suggests faculty development and curriculum changes be made to better prepare future physicians to handle this growing patient base.
In 2001, 53 percent of ambulatory (outpatient) visits by patients 65 and older were to nonprimary-care specialists, an increase of 13 percent from 1980. "Until recently, most physician visits by geriatric patients were to primary-care providers," says lead author Elizabeth Bragg, PhD, of UCs Institute for the Study of Health. "The changing needs of the geriatric population have shifted that trend. Now, more than 50 percent of all outpatient visits by geriatric patients are to nonprimary-care specialists."
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