Canada's aging population, fewer medical students training in geriatric medicine, and inadequate geriatric curricula require that medical schools immediately address how future physicians will be able to care for older people effectively. The medical literature suggests that experiential learning strategies improve undergraduate medical students' knowledge of and interest in less-popular subjects, but the durability of improvements resulting from these resource-intensive learning approaches remains unclear. In October 2001, a convenience sample of all University of Western Ontario medical students attending the geriatric component of their first year was randomized to attend one 3-hour didactic lecture or 3-hour experiential learning session. Approximately 1 year later, students completed a follow-up knowledge and attitudes survey that was matched to their first-year surveys using date-of-birth data. Of 100 completed follow-up surveys, 42 were used in formal analysis. Although initially the experiential group demonstrated a better knowledge score, at 1-year follow-up, there was no significant difference in knowledge, attitudes toward older people, or interest in geriatric medicine between the didactic (n=17) and experiential (n=25) groups. Nevertheless, these students (n=42) demonstrated better attitude scores than those (n=22) who had not attended either educational intervention. This study challenges the belief that an experiential approach is a superior training method to a didactic approach. One year after an educational intervention, there was no difference in geriatric knowledge, attitude scores, or interest in geriatric medicine between students who underwent a didactic lecture or a participatory, experiential learning session.
This study examined the nurse practitioner (NP) role in three long-term care facilities in Ontario, Canada, to identify factors that facilitate or impede the implementation of this role. Facility staff were surveyed about their perceptions of the NP role, and the NP assigned to the facilities was interviewed. Findings indicated the NP had a positive impact on practice activities and staff assessment skills. Ratings of effectiveness and satisfaction with the role were high, although they varied by facility and the frequency of staff interaction with the NP. This study indicated NPs can significantly impact the primary care of residents in long-term care facilities. The NP role can be facilitated by clear delineation of the scope of practice, optimal NP to resident ratios, and organizational support.
Disturbance in the metabolism of tryptophan and tryptophan-derived compounds (e.g., melatonin) may have a role in the pathogenesis of delirium.
To evaluate the efficacy of low dose exogenous melatonin in decreasing delirium.
A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study.
An Internal Medicine service in a tertiary care centre in London, Ontario, Canada.
145 individuals aged 65 years or over admitted through the emergency department to a medical unit in a tertiary care hospital.
Patients were randomized to receive either 0.5 mg of melatonin or placebo every night for 14 days or until discharge.
The primary outcome was the occurrence of delirium as determined by Confusion Assessment Method (CAM) criteria.
Of a total of 145 individuals (mean age (standard deviation): 84.5 (6.1) years) 72 were randomly assigned to the melatonin group and 73 to the placebo group. Melatonin was associated with a lower risk of delirium (12.0% vs. 31.0%, p = 0.014), with an odds ratio (OR), adjusted for dementia and co-morbidities of 0.19 (95% confidence intervals (CI): 0.06-0.62). Results were not different when patients with prevalent delirium were excluded.
An intention to treat analysis was not possible due to loss to follow-up.
Exogenous low dose melatonin administered nightly to elderly patients admitted to acute care may represent a potential protective agent against delirium.
Erratum In: Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2014 May;29(5):550