The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education

Physical Diagnosis in Older Adults


Physical Diagnosis in Older Adults

Kansas Medical Center
Daniel Swagerty, MPH, Sharee Wiggins, ARNP
AAMC/John A. Hartford Foundation
Donald W. Reynolds Foundation
POGOe Id: 
Date Posted: 
Date Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 

This independent learning web-based module was developed for third-year medical students in the geriatric clerkship rotation. Emphasis is placed on setting the tone for clinical encounters with older adults, atypical presentation of illness, importance of review of function and medications. Clinical considerations specific to older adults are presented for most systems. External websites are included in the module to augment or further enlighten the student about the content presented.

Educational objectives: 
  1. Recognize personal biases that may interfere with effective communication.
  2. Reproduce history taking techniques that foster respect and rapport with older adults.
  3. Employ methods to facilitate communication in the sensory impaired.
  4. Recognize the potential for under-reporting of illness by the older patient.
  5. Discuss the importance of understanding atypical presentation of illness.
  6. Explain the particular concerns regarding accurate history about medications and nutrition in older adults.
  7. Describe the potential impact on health status and quality of life in the older adult with unrecognized functional decline. 
  8. Recall at least one age-related finding for each organ system.
  9. Restate clinical considerations for common physiologic changes in older adults.
  10. Summarize the major components of the "Welcome to Medicare" visit.
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Intended learner audience: 
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Estimated time to complete: 
1 hour 30 minutes
Conflict of Interest Disclosure: 
No, I (we) have nothing to disclose.
Already Expired Email Date: 
Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 1:55am
Already Expired Email 1 month date: 
Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 12:35pm
Expires 6mos Email Date: 
Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 2:53pm
Expired Email Date: 
Friday, March 30, 2018 - 4:22pm
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:
Sharee Wiggins, NP, ARNP

Suggested Citation:
Sharee Wiggins, NP, ARNP and Daniel Swagerty, MD, MPH. Physical Diagnosis in Older Adults. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2010 Available from: