As people age, our needs and expectations change—and our health care should follow suit. Geriatric medicine is the branch of internal medicine dealing with the medical management and care of older people through the provision of high-quality, person-centred care.
The role of geriatric medicine continues to grow because of the ongoing shift towards an ageing population and the associated increased prevalence of chronic illness. Globally the share of population aged 65 years or over is projected to rise from 9 per cent to 16 per cent in 2050. Medical practitioners are finding that an increasing proportion of their patients are older and look to geriatricians for expert advice and opinion.
In Australia and New Zealand there are increasing numbers of specialist positions in geriatric medicine. At present we have one of the largest groups of advanced trainees in geriatric medicine, with a high demand for their specialty at the end of their training.
The practice of geriatric medicine combines intellectual challenge, good medicine and team work. It brings together acute and chronic care as well as hospital and ambulatory medicine; rehabilitation is another major focus. There are also considerable opportunities for research and teaching.
If you are looking for a rewarding career with job satisfaction and opportunities for the future, geriatric medicine is your sub-specialty.
Geriatric medicine is full of complex patients with complex needs, and there is a real value placed on pragmatic thinking, communication skills, teamwork with multi-disciplinary colleagues and patient-centred care.Dr Paula Loveland
As a clinician you can work in acute care, perioperative medicine, subacute rehabilitation, end of life care, outpatient clinics and patient’s homes, which means there is a lot of variety and flexibility in the work you can do. There are always new challenges, so it has been a very rewarding specialty to train in.