Family Medicine Matters Blog

The OCFP Blog discusses current topics and invites members to share their perspectives and ideas, and engage in a dialogue.

How Do We Better Prepare Ourselves to Deliver High-Quality Geriatric Care?

December 16, 2016

Photo Dr. Samir K SinhaA guest blog by Dr. Samir K Sinha
Director of Geriatrics, Sinai Health System and University Health Network
Architect of Ontario’s Seniors Strategy

We know we don’t have enough geriatricians in Canada to care for every older person. However, among 75,000 physicians in Canada, only 250 are geriatricians. There are 10 times as many paediatricians. 

Put another way, that’s one geriatrician to every 21,000 older adults in Canada. Primary care providers – family doctors and nurse practitioners and others – will therefore have to be able to deliver the majority of care and advice older adults need, and we need to make sure they are supported to do it well.

Despite the need to deliver care to the growing population of older Canadians, until recently there has been a dearth of educational resources for social workers, doctors, therapists and nurses working with older adults. To address this, I joined forces with the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) to capitalize on OTN’s growing library of video lectures to launch the Ontario Geriatrics Learning Centre (OGLC). The OGLC was the product of a group of practical recommendations that came out of the Ontario Seniors Strategy, Living Longer, Living Well designed to help health, social and community care providers acquire additional knowledge and skills in the care of older adults.

The OGLC is free, accessible 24-7 and features the province’s leading experts teaching about geriatric syndromes, common care issues and quality of life issues. The video lectures are about 45 minutes long and designed to be watched in short segments, supported by downloadable PowerPoint presentations.

The OGLC further serves as an excellent resource that gives providers access to a host of additional relevant educational resources supplied by the province’s foremost experts in geriatric care that can further assist professionals in providing evidence-informed care.

The OGLC helps address one of the greatest challenges facing front-line healthcare providers in Ontario: geriatrics is not a mandatory requirement in the training of our current health and social care providers. “In medical school you learn about diseases but not necessarily about the different ways those diseases manifest in older adults,” says OTN CEO Dr. Ed Brown.

We wanted the Learning Centre to be a place where all professionals can get practical, high-quality education, free of commercial bias and organized in a friendly way. Our inspiration was simplicity and accessibility.

Topics range from geriatrician Dr. Camilla Wong’s lecture on hospital-acquired delirium to Dr. Mark Rappaport’s lecture on driving and dementia. Dr. David Conn lectures on aging and keeping a positive attitude and Heather Keller on nutrition and dehydration, while I deliver a lecture on how to do a Comprehensive Geriatrics Assessment.

Given that older people now outnumber younger people in our population, this is an invaluable and evolving resources to have in hand to make sure our oldest patients get the care they need.

Final out more about the OGLC Resources here

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