An active-learning course model to teach pharmacotherapy in geriatrics

Erica L. Estus, University of Rhode Island
Anne L. Hume, College of Pharmacy
Norma J. Owens, College of Pharmacy


Objective. To describe the development, implementation, and assessment of a geriatric pharmaco-therapy elective course emphasizing a patient-centered approach and active, self-directed learning strategies. Design. The course content included fundamental concepts in aging, geriatric syndromes, activities involving assessment of medically complex older adults, presentation of controversies in clinical geriatrics, book and film clubs, an Adopt-a-Patient project, and scientific and reflective writing. Students participated in site visits to interview and interact with older adults. Assessment. Student evaluation of the course was assessed with the teaching evaluation tool, an endof-semester survey, a follow-up P4 survey, and reflective writings. Students strongly agreed that course goals were achieved. Learning how to communicate with older adults and assess complex medication regimens were the areas of highest importance to students. P4 students strongly agreed that skills learned in the course were important to their success in advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs). Conclusion. A pharmacotherapy course emphasizing active and self-directed learning in geriatrics through innovative teaching was adaptable to doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students at various stages of their training and improved students' perceptions of aging.