A common European postgraduate curriculum in geriatric medicine
Michael Vassallo is a Consultant Physician at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and Visiting Professor at Bournemouth University. He is currently chair of the Specialist Advisory Committee in Geriatric Medicine. Katrin Singler is a Consultant Geriatrician at University Hospital Nürnberg and a Professor for Geriatrics at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany. She has a Master in Medical Education at the university of Heidelberg, Germany and board member of the European Academy for the Medicine of Ageing (EAMA).
Demographic changes associated with increased longevity, care requirements and growing multi-morbidity make a strong case for the specialty of Geriatric Medicine. Currently more than 70% of the European Union member states already recognise and commit to Geriatric Medicine as a specialty. However, there are considerable differences in the way the specialty is practiced across Europe.
Despite these differences the core components and requirements of the specialty are the same and there is a considerable amount of common ground. Bringing together the specialty across Europe is one of the aims of various specialist societies. Under the auspices of the UEMS-GMS, the European Geriatric Medicine Society (EuGMS) and the European Academy for the Medicine of Ageing (EAMA), a group of experts, representing all member states of the respective bodies, developed a new framework for education and training of specialists in Geriatric Medicine using a modified Delphi technique.
Thirty-two expert panel members from 30 different countries participated in the process comprising three Delphi rounds for consensus. All panel members, except one, were trained geriatricians and were actively involved in the medical care of older patients or teaching or training of young geriatricians. 23 panel members and four of the members of the core study group were also involved in academic work including clinical science and teaching.
The process to develop the recommendations presented in this publication needed a three step approach and lasted two years. A qualitative approach was deliberately chosen to facilitate the gathering of information and ideas which otherwise would not have been possible through a quantitative approach.
The resulting paper is based on a broad variety of inputs from all across Europe. It identifies common areas under 4 domains that include quality indicators, required knowledge for in patient care, additional skills and attitudes required by a Geriatrician and assessment of postgraduate education, which are items important for the transnational process required to develop a widely accepted curriculum.
While recognising that there are country specific differences, this represents an important step in bringing together the practice of Geriatric Medicine across the whole of Europe and presents a template for all to work towards. It offers a template to facilitate the development of Geriatric Medicine as a specialty where this is not present. The new curriculum addresses and identifies internationally agreed training standards and will also facilitate transnational migration of geriatricians within EU borders and beyond.
Read the Age and Ageing paper: European postgraduate curriculum in geriatric medicine developed using an international modified Delphi technique