JOURNAL ARTICLE

Assessing knowledge base on geriatric competencies for emergency medicine residents

Teresita M Hogan, Bhakti Hansoti, Shu B Chan
Western Journal of Emergency Medicine 2014, 15 (4): 409-13
25035745

INTRODUCTION: Emergency care of older adults requires specialized knowledge of their unique physiology, atypical presentations, and care transitions. Older adults often require distinctive assessment, treatment and disposition. Emergency medicine (EM) residents should develop expertise and efficiency in geriatric care. Older adults represent over 25% of most emergency department (ED) volumes. Yet many EM residencies lack curricula or assessment tools for competent geriatric care. Fully educating residents in emergency geriatric care can demand large amounts of limited conference time. The Geriatric Emergency Medicine Competencies (GEMC) are high-impact geriatric topics developed to help residencies efficiently and effectively meet this training demand. This study examines if a 2-hour didactic intervention can significantly improve resident knowledge in 7 key domains as identified by the GEMC across multiple programs.

METHODS: A validated 29-question didactic test was administered at six EM residencies before and after a GEMC-focused lecture delivered in summer and fall of 2009. We analyzed scores as individual questions and in defined topic domains using a paired student t test.

RESULTS: A total of 301 exams were administered; 86 to PGY1, 88 to PGY2, 86 to PGY3, and 41 to PGY4 residents. The testing of didactic knowledge before and after the GEMC educational intervention had high internal reliability (87.9%). The intervention significantly improved scores in all 7 GEMC domains (improvement 13.5% to 34.6%; p<0.001). For all questions, the improvement was 23% (37.8% pre, 60.8% post; P<0.001) Graded increase in geriatric knowledge occurred by PGY year with the greatest improvement post intervention seen at the PGY 3 level (PGY1 19.1% versus PGY3 27.1%).

CONCLUSION: A brief GEMC intervention had a significant impact on EM resident knowledge of critical geriatric topics. Lectures based on the GEMC can be a high-yield tool to enhance resident knowledge of geriatric emergency care. Formal GEMC curriculum should be considered in training EM residents for the demands of an aging population.

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