Hospitalists and Senior Patients: On-The-Job Training

Hospitalists and Senior Patients: On-The-Job Training

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Hospitalists and Senior Patients: On-The-Job Training Between 2005 and 2014, thenumber of hospitalist jobs in the U.S.jumped from 500 to more than 44,000, according to statistics compiled by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. That's quite a jump.

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Published 03 November 2015
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Hospitalists and Senior Patients: On-The-Job Training Between 2005 and 2014, thenumber of hospitalist jobs in the U.S.jumped from 500 to more than 44,000, according to statistics compiled by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. That's quite a jump. Today's hospitalist is now an integral part of providing both critical and non-critical care to patients in every demographic group. Among their patients is a growing pool of seniors requiring more specialized care.
Statistics suggest that more than 40% of the adult patients who regularly access care at hospitals are over the age of 65. Furthermore, estimates indicate some 70 million U.S. adults will join the ranks of senior citizens over the next 15 years. As life expectancy increases and healthcare provides better outcomes, more and more of these seniors will be relying on hospitalists care. This shift suggests that doctors will be undergoing plenty of on-the-job training. As Becker's Hospital Review contributor Maybell Cowan-Lincoln pointed out in an October piece, treating seniors in the hospital environment can be quite different when compared to treating their younger counterparts. Seniors tend to have more chronic conditions; they require hospitalizations more frequently; they can develop serious injuries from seemingly minor falls. These are all things hospitalists have to be aware of when they see older patients. Cowan-Lincoln andThe Hospitalistexperienced geriatricians to learn what they believe hospitalists need to surveyed know about treating seniors.
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The following is but a small sampling of the survey results: 1. Basic Geriatric Education Experienced geriatricians believe all hospitalist jobs should require at least basic geriatric education. It is the internists providing the day-to-day routine care. They need to have a basic understanding of geriatric medicine in order to provide that care appropriately. 2. Team-based Care A team-based approach must be embraced. Geriatric medicine is best practiced when a team-based approach is utilized approach that involves all of a patient's doctors as well as a team of nurses and advocacy specialists.an 3. Avoiding Polypharmacy The use of multiple drugs to treat a single condition, also known as polypharmacy, is a significant problem in geriatric medicine, according to survey respondents. Polypharmacy can lead to a whole host of problems, including delirium. Experienced geriatricians say polypharmacy should be avoided whenever possible. They go one step further by saying the number of medications taken by senior patients should be kept to the absolute minimum. 4. Function Cannot Be Forgotten Perhaps the most important thing hospitalists can learn from the geriatrician survey is the reality that function cannot be ignored. In other words, it should not be that doctors focus so much on treating specific health conditions that they fail to realize patients may lose significant practical functioning during extended hospital stays. Maintaining function needs to be as important to hospitalists as treating the underlying disease. It stands to reason that hospitalist jobs will involve more geriatric care as the American population gets older. Whether or not doctors receive formal training in geriatric medicine, they will certainly get plenty of on-the-job training throughout their careers. Sources: 1.The Hospitalisthttp://www.the-hospitalist.org/article/10-things-geriatricians-want-hospitalists-to-know/ 2.Wharton School UPhttp://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/hospitals-hiring-physicians-trend-rise/
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