Don't Overlook The Older People

A recent article in the NY Times decried the fact that doctors receive little or no training in treating older patients even as more and more of the population attains advanced age.

Pointing out that 80-year-olds do not always have the same symptoms nor require the same treatment protocols as 50-year-olds, Dr. Roseanne M. Leipzig blamed the lack of knowledge on the startling fact that medical schools do not require training in geriatric medicine.

With more people going into long term care, there is a pressing need for clinical training in geriatrics. According to Dr. Leipzig, patients 65 and older account for 48% of all inpatient hospital days and yet few medical schools offer training in elder care.

The doctor suggests, and we agree, that Medicare, which contributes more than $8 billion a year to support medical residency training, require that part of that residency training focus on the unique health care needs of older persons.

Long term care insurance companies should join in the effort to offer this elder care training which would lead to better medical results and give older people the ability to live on their own longer.

Wider geriatric knowledge in the medical profession would mean better insight to the needs and treatment of older people. This better insight would mean fewer of these people needing long term care facilities.