The geriatric population is expected to grow considerably between 2012 and 2050. Aging leads to numerous changes in all systems of the human body including cardiovascular, neurological, respiratory, urinary, musculoskeletal, and sensory (visual, hearing, smell, taste, touch). This online module reviews the typical professional team members that conduct a comprehensive geriatric assessment, lists and describes the assessment tools available, and discusses CGA follow-up.

Heart failure is a chronic disease noted for its gradual deterioration over a long period of time and is considered a major form of cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association (AHA) describes heart failure as a syndrome, not a disease, which emphasizes the complex nature of this medical condition.

This online course covers the differences between palliative care and hospice care and identifies the misconceptions that are often associated with each.  It also reviews the principles guiding the Patient Self-Determination Act and the support that should be given by the interdisciplinary care team to provide the older patient their autonomy for care.

Terminally ill patients and their families are faced with difficult decisions. These complex issues at end of life require effective and accurate communication from healthcare providers so that informed decisions can be made by patients and their family members. Positive end-of-life experiences are more likely to be achieved when the decision-making process is shared with providers and is based on scientific evidence.

Shared decision-making is Shared Decision-Making (SDM) refers to healthcare providers (HCP) and patients making decisions together using the best available evidence.1   Through collaboration with their HCPs, patients and families are encouraged to consider all available screening, treatment, or management options and the likely benefits and harms of each, to communicate their preferences, and help select the course of action that best fits.  Although many HCPs believe they already use shared decision making, research shows a gap between perception and reality.1-2  This module discusses the significance of shared decision making in healthcare, the essential components, and challenges to successful application of SDM in practice.  Currently available SDM models that HCPs can utilize as a key element of patient-centered care in a variety of critical decision-making situations are explained.  How to best implement the SDM models and timing, as well as recommendations for further development of SDM are explored.

Clinically there are 4 categories of diabetes mellitus (DM) – type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, gestational diabetes mellitus, and cause-specific diabetes related to specific causes (e.g. cystic fibrosis, pancreatic disease, or drug-induced). The latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) note that 29 million people (9.3% of the U.S. population) have diabetes. This online module reviews the standards of treatment for older patients with diabetes.

This online module discusses the need for weight management, especially as the population ages.  Between 2007 and 2010, one-third of people over 65 were obese and, according to the CDC, that number is expected to double by 2050.  Weight management provides health benefits for people of all ages, ethnicities and genders, but becomes more important as the body ages to reduce the risk of developing life threatening health issues.