Hartford institute scholars decry shortfall in geriatric expertise of health care professionals

. Fewer than one-quarter of all nursing programs required a geriatrics course.

Shortfalls in geriatric expertise abound in other areas of the health care workforce as well: only small percentages of physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists, and social workers specialize in geriatrics.

Acknowledging that more research is needed to determine more precisely the future need for geriatric specialists, the authors state that, at minimum, every older adult requires a provider who has some education and training in geriatrics, and that students in health professionals education programs should all receive educational content and have experience in caring for older adults.

Furthermore, they recommend that all programs in nursing and medicine make a commitment to geriatrics similar to that made to pediatrics. States might follow the lead of the six states (Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, and South Dakota) that mandate content and experience in geriatrics for all nursing education, or those that require a specified number of continuing education credits in geriatrics. In addition, health facilities could be required to show evidence of staff training in geriatrics as a condition of licensure.


Contact: Elaine Gould
New York University

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