Despite a growing aging population and a provincial strategy that has publicized the need for geriatrics education, medical learning in this area is lacking across Canada. Many family practitioners and non-geriatric specialists (despite sometimes frequent contact with elderly patients) lack the information and training necessary to recognize the special needs of their oldest patients. Therefore, medical schools need to address how all physicians will be able to care for older adults effectively.
Dr. Andrew Costa and his team in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine Waterloo Regional Campus, together with project partners at Schlegel Villages, the Research Institute for Aging, and MIRA have continued their work on macPAGE: McMaster Passport for Geriatric Education. The macPAGE program is designed to encourage learners to engage in experiential education opportunities related to working with older adults, and enhance their skills and geriatrics-related competencies.
The macPAGE program is based on six pillars of geriatric education. These pillars represent a breadth of experiences and the different facets that contribute to the care of older adults. This program is designed as an opportunity for learners to engage in experiential education; enhance skills and geriatrics-related competencies; and to serve as a catalogue of geriatrics-related educational experiences. In order to meet the criteria and receive a MacPage Geriatric Competency Certificate, learners must complete experiences within four of the six pillars listed above.
The macPAGE program is currently being trialed at the Waterloo Regional Campus by undergraduate medical students. One-quarter of students (seven out of 28) who were given information about macPAGE are actively using it to catalog their experiences. Plans to expand the platform to undergraduate medical students at the Niagara Regional Campus and, eventually, at Main Campus are underway. MIRA is working with the macPAGE team to refine and release macPAGE 2.0 which will have updated content and functionality, and will be accessible by a wider user base. MIRA is currently liaising with the Student Success Centre about plans to expand and trial the platform with undergraduate students from broader disciplines.