BACKGROUND: Physical and psychological health problems are prevalent in older adults and rarely exist in isolation. Treating these problems in isolation is resourceful and can be potentially harmful to patients due to delays in diagnosis and treatment and incomplete holistic care plans. Historically, trainees in geriatric medicine and old age psychiatry within the United Kingdom have completed very different training programmes.
METHODS: We undertook a pre-feasibility pilot study of collaborative postgraduate training between trainees in geriatric medicine and old age psychiatry within the West Midlands training region, United Kingdom. Trainees in each specialty were paired with each other and advised to arrange appropriate training opportunities for their counterpart; these included shadowing each other in their workplace and arranging opportunities to attend training opportunities with their consultants. Pre- and post-pilot surveys were completed by all trainees and reflections from trainees were collated.
RESULTS: Five trainee pairs were formed and arranged shadowing and training opportunities between October 2017 and May 2018. This included a combination of inpatient, outpatient, and community work. For both specialties, trainees' confidence in topics relating to their counterparts' specialty increased between the pre- and post-pilot surveys. Recurrent themes included within reflections included the benefits of collaborative training.
CONCLUSIONS: Our pilot has demonstrated that it is feasible to implement a programme of joint training into postgraduate medical training, and that this can have a positive impact upon the confidence of both specialties. An extended pilot is planned for the training year 2018-2019.