The acute ill older patient

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

It is not possible to become a doctor in Norway without treating older patients, and this is often viewed as challenging. This two-week course will give the participants increased knowledge on the ageing process, how to assess consequences of ageing for diagnostics, treatment and prognostics in the old acute hospital patient and how to discriminate ageing and pathology. The course maintains a practical aspect reaching far beyond the possibilities of the ordinary geriatric curriculum. The content of the course is in harmony with the curriculum recommended in geriatric medicine in European countries.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student has knowledge about:

  • Somatic alterations associated with ageing and age-related diseases.
  • Geriatric syndromes common in acute disease (acute functional decline, delirium, falls, dehydration and undernutrition, incontinence)
  • Geriatric teamwork and working methods.


The student has hands on skills in

  • Assessment of acute medical problems as well as geriatric syndromes in older patients in hospital, such as the following:
  • Identification and treatment of delirium
  • Assessment of fallrisk and fall etiology
  • Assessment of physical function, cognitive function and activities of daily living.
  • Communication techniques for optimal interaction with the older patient
  • Communication with individuals with sensory loss, stroke symptoms and cognitive impairment.

General competence

The student

  • Has developed professional attitudes towards the older patient, the caregivers, members of the interdisclipinary team from other health professions.
  • Can reflect over own role as physician when treating an older acute ill individual
  • Can discuss ethical aspects of care for the acute older patient in hospital.
Required Previous Knowledge
To be able to take a history from the patient and perform a standard clinical examination
Recommended Previous Knowledge
It is recommended to have completed the 6th semester of the medical programme.
Access to the Course
Medical student, but possible to invite other potential membes of the geriatric team (nurses, pysiotherapists, pharmasists, occupational therapits etc) to parts of the course. Students from other programmes than medicine must be in their final year of the bachelor's degree.
Teaching and learning methods
The class is highly interactive and utilizes new learning techniques such as blended learning, flipped classroom, teamwork etc. Organized teaching in various forms will take place daily (mon-fri) between 0900 and 1430. Additionally, 30-45 minutes of daily preparation/reflection is required. Both simulations and real patients will be used in classes. The course requires active participation from particiants.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
80% attendence and to complete and get apporoval of a reflection essay.
Forms of Assessment
Home-examination by a reflection essay.
Grading Scale
Approved/not approved
Course Evaluation
Every 3rd year