Resident training in nursing home care: survey of successful educational strategies

S R Counsell, P R Katz, J Karuza, G M Sullivan
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 1994, 42 (11): 1193-9

OBJECTIVE: To identify educational strategies for resident training in nursing home care deemed successful by a large number of programs.

DESIGN: A mail survey with three follow-up mailings.

PARTICIPANTS: Directors of accredited internal medicine and family practice residency programs.

MEASUREMENTS: Open- and closed-ended questionnaire eliciting curricular content, instructional strategies, and evaluation techniques from programs offering a nursing home experience. Identification of barriers to implementation of a nursing home curriculum and recommendations for success were requested.

MAIN RESULTS: Of the 814 surveys mailed, 537 were returned for a response rate of 66%. Nursing home experiences were required in 86% of family practice residency programs but in only 25% of internal medicine programs. Most geriatric medicine curricular content areas were taught in the nursing home; however, relatively little emphasis was given to rehabilitation, organization, and financing of health care, and coordination of care between acute and chronic settings. Direct patient care, bedside rounds, and lectures were the most common instructional strategies reported. Evaluation approaches included faculty observations, resident attendance, and chart reviews with written and skill-based examinations infrequent. Availability of faculty and conflict with other rotations were identified as the principal barriers to implementation of nursing home rotations. An organized nursing home curriculum supervised by enthusiastic faculty using a longitudinal rotation format with resident involvement in an interdisciplinary team was recommended.

CONCLUSIONS: Educational strategies exist for successful implementation of a residency nursing home curriculum. Greater priority must be given to training residents in nursing home care and developing nursing home faculty to substantially increase the number and quality of physicians who practice in this setting.

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