Incorporating geriatrics into the respiratory care curriculum

Helen M. Sorenson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The absolute number of adults over the age of 65 years is increasing nationwide and worldwide. Older adults today are more independent and self-sufficient than persons of that age were a generation ago. An increased incidence of acute and chronic disease results in relative morbidity but less mortality in those aged 65 years and older. The decision to incorporate or infuse education in geriatrics into existing respiratory care classes is not difficult. Implementation may be a little more challenging, but gradually adding geriatric components to courses over time is a perfectly reasonable way to introduce students to their future patient population. Fortunately, a growing number of elderly individuals desire to treat pathology rather than accept it as an inevitable consequence of aging. For these reasons, respiratory therapists have been brought into the realm of geriatric medicine, more by default than by organizational planning. The most passionate converts to the important role of geriatrics are physicians, nurses, and therapists who have recently attempted to shepherd their own aging parents through a health care system. If that experience that leads to these conversions could be measured and communicated, the world at large might be convinced of the value of education in geriatrics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-460
Number of pages12
JournalRespiratory Care Clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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