Developing and using interdisciplinary case studies in teaching geriatrics to practicing health care professionals
Continuing education programs for health care professionals who practice in geriatrics are an important part of improving the health care provided to older adults. Programs utilizing active forms of learning that mimic the clinical environment are more successful at changing the behavior of health care professionals than traditional didactic styles of teaching. Problem-based learning methods allow learners to identify their own areas of strength and weakness and to work toward improvement in a manner best suited to their needs. This article describes an interdisciplinary team of educator-clinicians in geriatrics who developed clinical case studies embodying these approaches as one method of improving the learning process for adult health care providers. An actual sample case study is presented as an illustration of the principles embodied in this process. Lessons learned from the development and use of these case studies are summarized in the context of improving the quality of continuing education programs for health care professionals in geriatric practice.