The Partnership for Health in Aging—a coalition of more than 20 organizations representing eldercare professionals—released today a set of 23 geriatrics core competencies that it says all healthcare providers should have to better care for elderly patients.
The coalition developed the competencies in response to the Institute of Medicine's 2008 report Retooling for an Aging America: Building the Healthcare Workforce, which recommended that "licensure, certification, and maintenance of certification for healthcare professionals should include demonstration of competence in the care of older adults as a criterion."
Geriatric specialists are already in short supply and training more may not be feasible given the lack of interest and growing demands of an aging population. Some experts think training all doctors, dentists, nurses, physician therapists, social workers, and other providers in basic elder care may be the best way to prepare the nation for the "silver tsunami."
"The ultimate goal is to have universal geriatrics competencies that can enhance the capacity of the entire workforce in caring for older adults," said Todd Semla, MS, PharmD, who chairs the workgroup. The final competencies cover six domains:
The authors of the competencies intentionally left them broad, and expect each discipline to determine how to incorporate them into their training programs. However, the workgroup believes the competencies can apply to all entry-level professionals.
"There will be variations in how the competencies apply to each discipline, and each discipline will need to determine how the competencies will be utilized within their own curriculum development and credentialing processes. We see this as an iterative process as other disciplines build upon the work that we have started," said Semla.
The list was released today at the American Geriatrics Society's 2010 Annual Meeting.