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Geriatrics and Palliative Care Curriculum
The Geriatric Education Utilizing a Palliative Care Framework (GEPaC) project is a three-year, $500,000 grant project with $500,000 in funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to provide increased access to high-quality geriatric education for health care professionals, including nurses, occupational and physical therapists, physician assistants, and other clinicians who provide care for the elderly.
The project will design modularized geriatric education within a palliative care framework for traditional classroom, online classroom, and online continuing education settings with basic geriatric content for advanced practitioners to address the needs of the rapidly burgeoning U.S. population aged 65 and older. Since the average 75-year-old American has three chronic health conditions, one or more of which require some type of palliative care, the geriatric curriculum will provide a foundation of knowledge and skills address how to meet the unique requirements of aging adults for health care and quality of life, including:
- Prevention and amelioration of disease
- Maintaining optimum functional abilities in the presence of protracted illness
- Promoting quality of life
- Anticipating and preparing for peaceful death in the midst of chronic disease.
Health care professionals caring for older adults need knowledge and skill in both geriatrics and palliative care. The practitioners interested in specializing in geriatrics, are also likely to be interested in palliative care, and vice versa. So teaching geriatrics within a palliative care framework is a cost-effective way of providing the critical body of knowledge and skills in geriatrics.
The GEPaC project is a collaboration among the School of Nursing, several GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS) departments, Shenandoah University, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. These collaborations will improve care across the health care continuum, as well as foster interdisciplinary education to prepare clinicians in developing more coordinated and continuous health care systems with competent interdisciplinary teamwork encouraged by the Institute of Medicine.