The Case for Dual Training in Geriatric Medicine and Palliative Care: The Time is Now
The majority of older adults die from chronic illnesses which are preceded by years of progressive decline and increasing symptom burden. Delivery of high-quality care cannot take place without sufficient numbers of health professionals with appropriate training and skills in both geriatric and palliative care medicine. Despite the surge in aging population and the majority of deaths being attributed to patients with multiple comorbidities, very few health-care providers undergo dual training in these areas. Thus, the nation is facing a health-care crisis as the number of geriatric patients with chronic disease increasingly outpaces the number of physicians with adequate skills to manage them. Joint training in palliative care and geriatric medicine could prepare physicians to better manage our aging population by addressing all their health-care needs irrespective of their stage of disease emphasizing patient-directed care.