The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

Environmental Geriatrics

Environmental Geriatrics

Weill Cornell Medical College
Rosemary Bakker, MPH, Carol Capello, MPH, Josh Hester, MPH, Mark Lachs, MPH, Mike Sachs, MPH, Virgil Wong, MPH
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
POGOe Id: 
Date Posted: 
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 

Our 3D animated course gives providers the necessary tools to incorporate Environmental Geriatrics as an essential component of chronic disease management. Using sound, text and moving images, the learner witnesses virtual patients who have reduced visual, hearing, mobility, and memory skills, struggling to accomplish daily tasks of living, i.e., bathing, eating, ambulating, and taking medications. The second half of the animation identifies specific assistive devices and environmental features that improve patients’ ADL/IADL functioning while reducing injury.

Educational objectives: 

Learners should be able to: 1. Identify risk factors associated with falls and burns in elderly patients 2. Identify specific assistive devices and environmental features that improve patients’ ADL/IADL functioning while reducing injury risk 3. List specific assessment tools for the geriatric patient 4. Learn about reimbursement mechanisms and national resources for home modifications and assistive technologies Using state-of-the-art 3D software that combines sound, text and moving images, our educational animation allows medical students, physicians, and other health care professionals: 1. To make a virtual home visit with an older patient who has reduced visual, hearing, mobility, and memory skills 2. Witness virtual patients unnecessarily struggling to accomplish daily tasks of living (e.g., bathing, eating, ambulating, and taking medications) 3. Observe patients encountering remediable environmental hazards that increase fall and burn risk, which are not usually observable in practice 4. Experience virtually the effect of visual impairments, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma, while interacting with the environment (e.g., descending stairs) 5. Identify interventions that improve patients’ ADL/IADL functioning while reducing injury risk

Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

55 third-year medical students at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. This course takes about 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Students can view all three sections at once, or a facilitator can engage the students in a group discussion after each section. After all three sections are completed, a facilitator can break the class up into small groups of 4 to 6 and have the students engage in a solving a case. For example, you might present the following: "An 85-year-old woman with mild dementia and low vision (glaucoma) was admitted to the hospital with a fractured hip and is now getting ready for discharge. You are about to meet with both the patient and her daughter, who is very worried about her mother returning home. What issues do you need to consider, and what possible suggestions could you offer, so the patient can return home to an environment that will maximize her function and safety?"

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Contact Person/Corresponding Author:

Suggested Citation:
Rosemary Bakker, Carol Capello, Josh Hester, Mark Lachs, Mike Sachs and Virgil Wong. Environmental Geriatrics. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2006 Available from:


Submitted by zhurd on

Awesome use of multiple modalities and good incorporation of references, specfic screening tools etc.

Submitted by zhurd on

Difficult for elderly to use; easier for physicians and residents; 3D (illegible) more useful for caregivers. Handouts may need to be  simplified.

Submitted by K_Callahan on

5 - this vivid, interactive set of modules provides a sympathetic view of "aging in place" and instructs students and clinicians in an engaging and practical way about functional assessment and interdisciplinary interventions for maximization of function . Should be required material for students and residents doing a geriatric or home visit rotation, and as part of the orientation week for geriatric fellows!

Submitted by ksauvigne on

I like the big print in the patient guides