Geriatric Education Modules

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The Geriatric Education Modules (GEMs) contain up-to-date information on many topics relevant to professionals, educators, and students who serve older adults. Family caregivers will also find them helpful. Each module consists of a narrated slide presentation delivered by an expert on the topic.

"...I learned that I have been playing an even more active role in Dad's LTC through decision making, monitoring, and evaluating the process...This was particularly fascinating to me because I have learned that I have been doing a good job, a very good job...The comparison between expected outcomes and observed outcomes gives a good picture of the successes we have had."
—Caregiver who completed the long-term care module

General Information

What is Geriatrics? - Ed Ratner, MD, explains the differences between geriatrics and other specialties and discusses the complexities of health care for older adults. 

Ethics and Values in Aging and Aging Services Rosalie A. Kane, PhD. In the newest GEM, Professor Kane discusses bioethics and cultural values as they pertain to older people. Topics covered include research, ageism, and other important ethics issues.

Long-term Care - Robert Kane, MD, presents a description of the types of long-term care and how they meet various outcome goals and discusses other factors including policy, regulation, and financial issues. 

Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Older Adults - Paul Osterbauer, DC, covers the common forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and their use in older adults, the degree of evidence supporting the most common therapies, potential harms of CAM therapies, and resources available to assist in care planning.

Vitality - John Morley, MD, discusses life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, and the implications of the biochemical and other physical changes associated with aging. 

Social Aspects

Cultural Competence: Working with Diverse Older Adults - Hee Lee, PhD, defines cultural competence as it pertains to geriatrics and gerontology and describes contexts where cultural competence is required, barriers to providing culturally competent care, and strategies for working with older adults from diverse cultures. 

Informal Care Supports: The Basics - In Part 1 of this 3-part module, Joseph Gaugler, PhD, provides a definition of informal caregiving--the most common kind of care that older adults receive. Dr. Gaugler covers how this kind of caregiving affects both the providers and recipients-emotionally, economically, and physically and the affect of caregiving on overall quality of life. 

Informal Care Supports: Interventions and Services - In Part 2, Dr. Gaugler outlines the caregiving trajectory typically followed by family caregivers, clinical tools that health professionals can use to assist family caregivers, plus services and agencies in Minnesota that can assist caregivers. 

Informal Care Supports: Examples, Tools, and Resources - In Part 3, Dr. Gaugler provides examples of evidence-based supports for family caregivers and decision making tools designed for professionals and families. 

Clinical Competencies

Alzheimer's Disease - Teresa McCarthy, MD, describes Alzheimer's Disease, including warning signs and criteria for diagnosis, reviews the implications of AD for society as the populations ages, and discusses care planning once a diagnosis has been made. 

Avoiding Iatrogenic Events - Robert Kane, MD, defines and describes common iatrogenic events, such as misdiagnosis and adverse drug effects. After completing the module, learners will be able to discuss common causes of and risk factors for iatrogenic events, common settings for iatrogenic events, and strategies for avoiding negative outcomes in older patients. 

Delirium - Teresa McCarthy, MD, provides an overview of delirium: its characteristics, diagnostic criteria, how it differs from depression and dementia, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to treat it.

Depression in Older Adults - Merrie Kaas, DNSc, provides an overview of depression as it affects older adults. This module includes common risk factors, symptoms, a description of a targeted assessment, and evidence-based pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. 

Elder Mistreatment - Edward Ratner, MD, and Marie-Therese Connolly, JD. This module includes a discussion of the scope of elder mistreatment in the United States, how to recognize signs of mistreatment, and appropriate actions to take if mistreatment is suspected.

End of Life Issues in Older Adults - Edward Ratner, MD, describes the death process, various approaches to end of life care, advance care planning, and the indications for and use of hospice care. The module also provides examples of how to discuss preferences with the patient or client and links to web-based information and tools for patients and families. 

Fall Prevention - Jean Wyman, PhD, RN, defines falls, discusses the causes of and risk factors for falls in older adults, describes how to conduct a fall assessment, and provides learners with information on evidence-based interventions to prevent falls. 

Geriatric Diseases and Syndromes - Robert Kane, MD, and Edward Ratner, MD, give an overview of the major geriatric syndromes, the core clinical skills of geriatrics, and discuss issues around managing illness in older adults.

Geriatric Functional Assessment - James Pacala, MD, discusses comprehensive geriatric assessment, including the differences between screening, assessment, and management; key health and functional categories of older adults; steps of a proactive system for high-risk older adults; the domains commonly assessed; and outcomes of the GEM model compared to the usual medical care model. 

Geriatric Rehabilitation - Becky Olson-Kellogg, DPT, provides an overview of geriatric rehabilitation, discusses members of the geriatric rehabilitation team, and discusses how basic physiological age-related changes affect the functional mobility of older adults. 

Management of Drug Therapy in Older Adults - David Guay, PharmD, describes how to identify potential adverse drug combinations, clinically relevant pharmachodynamic and pharmakinetic changes in older patients, and the selection of safe and effective therapies. 

Managing Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults - Kristine Talley, PhD, identifies risk factors for urinary incontinence and the components of UI assessment, and describes how to develop a UI management plan.

Oral Health - Stephen Shuman, DDS, MS, and Satbir Grover, BDS, MS, review key oral health trends in our aging population, relationships between oral and systemic health, common oral conditions and medication issues, access barriers to oral health care, and the role of the inter-professional team in improving the oral health of older adults.

Osteoporosis: What is it, how do we detect it, and what should we do? - John Schousboe, MD, presents the current definition of osteoporosis and discusses the epidemiology of osteoporosis-related fractures and their clinical consequences. He also outlines nutrition and exercise strategies to prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of fracture. 


The GEM program, developed by the Minnesota Area Geriatric Education Center (MAGEC) under the direction of Robert L. Kane, MD, is funded by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The Geriatric Education Modules (GEMs) contain up-to-date information on many topics relevant to professionals, educators, and students who serve older adults. Family caregivers will also find them helpful. Each module consists of a narrated slide presentation delivered by an expert on the topic.

"...I learned that I have been playing an even more active role in Dad's LTC through decision making, monitoring, and evaluating the process...This was particularly fascinating to me because I have learned that I have been doing a good job, a very good job...The comparison between expected outcomes and observed outcomes gives a good picture of the successes we have had."
—Caregiver who completed the long-term care module

General Information

What is Geriatrics? - Ed Ratner, MD, explains the differences between geriatrics and other specialties and discusses the complexities of health care for older adults. 

Ethics and Values in Aging and Aging Services Rosalie A. Kane, PhD. In the newest GEM, Professor Kane discusses bioethics and cultural values as they pertain to older people. Topics covered include research, ageism, and other important ethics issues.

Long-term Care - Robert Kane, MD, presents a description of the types of long-term care and how they meet various outcome goals and discusses other factors including policy, regulation, and financial issues. 

Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Older Adults - Paul Osterbauer, DC, covers the common forms of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and their use in older adults, the degree of evidence supporting the most common therapies, potential harms of CAM therapies, and resources available to assist in care planning.

Vitality - John Morley, MD, discusses life expectancy, healthy life expectancy, and the implications of the biochemical and other physical changes associated with aging. 

Social Aspects

Cultural Competence: Working with Diverse Older Adults - Hee Lee, PhD, defines cultural competence as it pertains to geriatrics and gerontology and describes contexts where cultural competence is required, barriers to providing culturally competent care, and strategies for working with older adults from diverse cultures. 

Informal Care Supports: The Basics - In Part 1 of this 3-part module, Joseph Gaugler, PhD, provides a definition of informal caregiving--the most common kind of care that older adults receive. Dr. Gaugler covers how this kind of caregiving affects both the providers and recipients-emotionally, economically, and physically and the affect of caregiving on overall quality of life. 

Informal Care Supports: Interventions and Services - In Part 2, Dr. Gaugler outlines the caregiving trajectory typically followed by family caregivers, clinical tools that health professionals can use to assist family caregivers, plus services and agencies in Minnesota that can assist caregivers. 

Informal Care Supports: Examples, Tools, and Resources - In Part 3, Dr. Gaugler provides examples of evidence-based supports for family caregivers and decision making tools designed for professionals and families. 

Clinical Competencies

Alzheimer's Disease - Teresa McCarthy, MD, describes Alzheimer's Disease, including warning signs and criteria for diagnosis, reviews the implications of AD for society as the populations ages, and discusses care planning once a diagnosis has been made. 

Avoiding Iatrogenic Events - Robert Kane, MD, defines and describes common iatrogenic events, such as misdiagnosis and adverse drug effects. After completing the module, learners will be able to discuss common causes of and risk factors for iatrogenic events, common settings for iatrogenic events, and strategies for avoiding negative outcomes in older patients. 

Delirium - Teresa McCarthy, MD, provides an overview of delirium: its characteristics, diagnostic criteria, how it differs from depression and dementia, and pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to treat it.

Depression in Older Adults - Merrie Kaas, DNSc, provides an overview of depression as it affects older adults. This module includes common risk factors, symptoms, a description of a targeted assessment, and evidence-based pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions. 

Elder Mistreatment - Edward Ratner, MD, and Marie-Therese Connolly, JD. This module includes a discussion of the scope of elder mistreatment in the United States, how to recognize signs of mistreatment, and appropriate actions to take if mistreatment is suspected.

End of Life Issues in Older Adults - Edward Ratner, MD, describes the death process, various approaches to end of life care, advance care planning, and the indications for and use of hospice care. The module also provides examples of how to discuss preferences with the patient or client and links to web-based information and tools for patients and families. 

Fall Prevention - Jean Wyman, PhD, RN, defines falls, discusses the causes of and risk factors for falls in older adults, describes how to conduct a fall assessment, and provides learners with information on evidence-based interventions to prevent falls. 

Geriatric Diseases and Syndromes - Robert Kane, MD, and Edward Ratner, MD, give an overview of the major geriatric syndromes, the core clinical skills of geriatrics, and discuss issues around managing illness in older adults.

Geriatric Functional Assessment - James Pacala, MD, discusses comprehensive geriatric assessment, including the differences between screening, assessment, and management; key health and functional categories of older adults; steps of a proactive system for high-risk older adults; the domains commonly assessed; and outcomes of the GEM model compared to the usual medical care model. 

Geriatric Rehabilitation - Becky Olson-Kellogg, DPT, provides an overview of geriatric rehabilitation, discusses members of the geriatric rehabilitation team, and discusses how basic physiological age-related changes affect the functional mobility of older adults. 

Management of Drug Therapy in Older Adults - David Guay, PharmD, describes how to identify potential adverse drug combinations, clinically relevant pharmachodynamic and pharmakinetic changes in older patients, and the selection of safe and effective therapies. 

Managing Urinary Incontinence in Older Adults - Kristine Talley, PhD, identifies risk factors for urinary incontinence and the components of UI assessment, and describes how to develop a UI management plan.

Oral Health - Stephen Shuman, DDS, MS, and Satbir Grover, BDS, MS, review key oral health trends in our aging population, relationships between oral and systemic health, common oral conditions and medication issues, access barriers to oral health care, and the role of the inter-professional team in improving the oral health of older adults.

Osteoporosis: What is it, how do we detect it, and what should we do? - John Schousboe, MD, presents the current definition of osteoporosis and discusses the epidemiology of osteoporosis-related fractures and their clinical consequences. He also outlines nutrition and exercise strategies to prevent bone loss and reduce the risk of fracture. 


The GEM program, developed by the Minnesota Area Geriatric Education Center (MAGEC) under the direction of Robert L. Kane, MD, is funded by Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).