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UW train future doctors in elderly patient care to meet increasing demand



  UW train future doctors in elderly patient care to meet increasing demand

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MADISON, Wis. – As the country's aging population grows, experts say there are not enough medical specialists who care for older adults, with a study that estimates a shortage of nearly 27,000 geriatrics by 2025.

This demand is part of the to the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health going beyond the books and working with Madison's VA Hospital to train up-and-coming doctors in the skills they need.

"When we provide care for older adults, there are nuanced ways of thinking about things," says Dr. Steve Barczi, professor of medicine in geriatric division.

Real problems require real solutions and real-life situations – or at least realistic. One month's simulations take medical residents such as Johanna Poterala through supervised simulations in a doctor's visit setting.

"It was actually very realistic," Poterala said. "They did a great job creating rich stories of details that you could bring to a real situation."

Patients are volunteer actors after a loose script, but residents and students are just as Real as it may be.

"The reason I want to go into oncology and it has led me to internal medicine is the ability to create special relationships with these patients," Poterala said.

These patients are aging. 19659005] "There will probably never be enough geriatrics, geriatric psychiatrists, and other geriatric providers to meet the needs of our aging population. In fact, it is something like a geriatrician for every 15,000 to 20,000 individuals," Barczi said, adding that the shortage affects rural areas the most.

Therefore, Barczi said that UW is one of a handful of medical schools that require geriatric education for all residents of the internal medicine and selected medical students.

"We know most people who go through our high school and our residences do not become geriatricians," he said, "but we feel that all of them need to have these basic skills, so we & # 39; geriatricize & # 39; this doctor's workforce. "

The evidence-based simulations include scenarios for concerns about falls, memory loss, and depression, all of which may look different from age.

"There is a misconception that you can look after older adults, the same you can look after (younger) adults," Barczi said.

Poterala can carry the skills she practices and receives feedback with her in her desperate career of treating cancer patients.

"You need to know how to handle things beyond cancer and treatment, and things we see today can surely come up in a clinical visit for that," she said. "To know what resources are available to people suffering from this type of disease and problem, and knowing how to best help them, it's really important."

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