Allegheny County is second in the nation only to Dade County, Florida in its percentage of persons over age 65. In response to meeting the special challenges of this growing population, high priority is placed upon adequately preparing our residents to care for these patients. A strong group of geriatric faculty (that are also core family medicine faculty) are actively involved in teaching, developing new initiatives, and serving on CQI committees for the elderly. One of our goals is to encourage residents to continue following patients in long-term care settings upon completion of their residency program.
Geriatric educational experiences are integrated into all three years of our residency curriculum. During the first year, residents will round on the inpatient geriatric service. This rotation involves rounding with a senior resident, a geriatric fellow (sometimes), and geriatric faculty on geriatric patients. During rounds we touch on topics in geriatric medicine such as cognitive impairments, incontinence, osteoporosis, sensory deprivation, decubitus ulcers, malnutrition, and elder abuse. First year residents will occasionally begin following patients at longitudinally at one of the nursing homes that geriatric faculty serve. The home visit program brings the first year resident into close contact with community-dwelling, homebound geriatric patients.
During the second year, residents will be the senior on the geriatric inpatient service. Residents are learning to lead an inpatient team while under the direction of geriatric faculty. Residents have more dedicated time to their longitudinal nursing home patients. Each resident is responsible for history and physicals, required periodic visits, and management of any acute problems that may arise. A required third year geriatric outpatient rotation gives residents an opportunity join the team of geriatric specialists at UPMC St. Margaret's Classic Care, one of the few approved geriatric assessment units in western Pennsylvania.
Postgraduate education boasts an accredited geriatric fellowship. Three fellowship positions are available at UPMC St. Margaret. This fellowship works hand in hand with St. Margaret residents on the inpatient geriatric service, and is an excellent resource for residents and the community.