The benefits of geriatric training to general practitioners:
Geriatrics is defined as a medical specialty concerned with the physical, functional and social conditions of the elderly in care: be it acute, chronic, rehabilitative, preventive or terminal. This group of patients exhibits a high degree of vulnerability and an evolving polypathology thus requiring a holistic approach.
It is evident then, that Geriatrics shares common ground with General Practice. This can be seen in the provision of comprehensive and continuing care, respect and the pursuit of patient autonomy, the integration of physical, psychological, social, cultural and existential factors of the individual, and the emphasis on prevention.
In some countries, this holistic and multifaceted approach to older people has been recognized as necessary and training in geriatrics is part of the education of General Practitioners (e.g. France).
Educating General Practitioners into utilizing a Geriatric approach allows physicians to overcome the obstacle of fatalism and to deal individually with each older person with multiple medical conditions. Furthermore, it allows GP's to recognize and anticipate the major syndromes and their geriatric consequences and overall to develop a multifaceted approach which allows not only developing a therapeutic strategy, but beyond that, a living plan.
As Greece's healthcare system is reconfigured, general practitioners / family doctors are expected to be Primary Care's reference point. Structured training and education in the subject of geriatrics will aid GPs in their responsibility; to offer the best possible health services to older people under their care.