The Portal of Geriatrics Online Education


Care of the Older Adult in the Home: Flexible Clinical Experience

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The Care of the Older Adult in the Home Flexible Clinical Experience is a weeklong elective rotation for the third year medical student and offers an introduction to the care of the older adult provided at home and along the trajectory of disease from health care maintenance and prevention to end-of-life. Medical students are scheduled for home visits with a geriatrician and geriatric nurse practitioner. Students also experience a home visit with elder protective services and other members of the inter-professional home care team. In addition, students spend time with a palliative care physician and make home visits with hospice staff. The students receive didactics on home care and end-of-life care and are required to complete independent learning assignments. Students receive feedback from the inter-professional team, nurse practitioners and attending physicians on knowledge and professionalism.

Educational objectives: 

On completion, the learner will be able to:

  • Identify the role of interprofessional staff in the care of an elderly patient at home
  • Describe the role of elder protective services in the community
  • Perform and document an assessment of fall risk and safety evaluation in the home
  • Demonstrate medication reconciliation with home medications
  • Explain the roles of palliative care and hospice in caring for frail older adults
Additional information/Special implementation requirements or guidelines: 

Flexible Clinical Experience Program

The Care of the Older Adult in the Home experience was developed within the framework of the new MS3 Flexible Clinical Experience (FCE) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, first implemented in the current academic year (2012-2013). Students are required to select 4 FCE courses from approximately 80 faculty-designed experiences. These one to two week electives emphasize one-on-one interaction between the student and teacher. The methods employed include working in the inpatient and outpatient settings under supervision of physicians, oral and written case presentations, and education in specialized testing procedures used in the specialty.

The following list of overall program objectives provides course design flexibility while maintaining curricula continuity.

  • Allow for career exploration and or development, and planning for senior study
  • Allow exposure to evolving and cutting-edge branches of medicine, and to the growing importance of coordinated, patient-centered care models
  • Provide an opportunity to work with recognized experts in different fields of medicine and allied sciences
  • Provide exposure to novel concepts or systems of care not normally available within the core clinical experience
  • Allow for student designed innovative experiences within the guidelines for this elective

FCE Educational Methodologies & Student Assessment (background)

The Care of the Older Adult in the Home FCE provides the third year medical student the opportunity to experience care provided by multiple team members. Students are scheduled to participate in home visits with a geriatrician and geriatric nurse practitioner. They also are scheduled to go on home visits with additional members of the inter-professional team, such as physical therapy or a visiting nurse. The FCE includes time with a palliative care physician and going on home visits with members of the hospice team. In addition, students go on a home visit with elder protective services. Students are given a reading list and independent assignments, including a reflective essay. They receive didactics on home care and end-of-life care. Assessment criteria are based on attendance, case history and presentations, participation in home visits and didactics, feedback from inter-professional team and attending physicians on competence, knowledge, and professionalism.


Included Documents

Course Description

The course description is formatted as a Flexible Clinical Experience (FCE) course handout for students to download for their portfolios. All FCEs include supervisor (preceptor), sponsoring department, description of activities, learning objectives, assessment and evaluation methods, and offered dates.

Independent Learning Assignments

The assignments list is the self-directed component for the experience.

SAMPLE Schedule

The student schedule is dependent on the resources (professionals and facilities) that are available during particular terms through the academic year. An actual schedule for one student, this sample demonstrates the variety of exposures for the student.


Date posted: 
Fri, 01/11/2013
Date Submitted or Reviewed/Updated for Clinical Accuracy: 
Fri, 01/11/2013
Contact Person/Corresponding Author:

Suggested Citation:
, , , and . Care of the Older Adult in the Home: Flexible Clinical Experience. POGOe - Portal of Geriatrics Online Education; 2013 Available from:
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