6. Themed Days

6.4. Day 4: The Older patient

Preparatory work

In preparation students should have:


To introduce students to the biomedical and social implications of ageing, the demographic changes in the population and the implications of this for health and social services.

Learning Outcomes

 By the end of the day, students should be able to:

  • Recognise ageing as a natural, developmental process
  • Describe different ways that older people are regarded within different groups and communities
  • Describe the range of services, people and agencies that are involved in the support of the older patient in the local community
  • Demonstrate appropriate communication skills with an older patient (with suitable empathy, respect and interest)
  • Explain some of the implications for health and social services of an ageing population


 Example timetable

9.30 – 10.30

Tutorial on ageing and health


10.30 – 10.45


Tea break

10.45 – 11.45

Prepare for patient encounters

  • Plan questions and observations   


Virtual visit to local care home

  • Group interview with manager or staff member
  • Involvement in virtual care home ward round
  • Meet patients and interview in small groups

11.45 – 12.30

Group debrief about visit/patient encounters


Set up post-lunch activity:

In small groups, students to research local facilities, groups and professionals providing services for older people an prepare brief presentation for group


12.45 – 13.45


13.45 – 15.00

Student-led research

1:1 formative feedback meeting with GP tutor (for 4-6 students)


Includes tea break

15.00 – 16.00

Small group presentations

Set homework for next session



Suggested Activities

  • Tutorial on ‘ageing’ and health -  could discuss students own experiences of ageing in their family/community, review practice population statistics, key health promotion areas for older people or review of recent ‘hot topics’ e.g.  COVID-19 and care homes.
  • Patient interviews – either observing healthcare professional or student-led
  • Virtual visit to local care home or other residential or daycare facility for older people.
  • Group discussion about ageism in society and healthcare; read article from Age & Ageing “Ageism and COVID-19: what does our society’s response say about us?”. Scope for student debate e.g. Is the healthcare system ageist?
  • Research local agencies or meet with a professional providing services for older people.
  • Meeting with GP tutor for formative feedback on progress to date with learning activities and on professional attitude and conduct.     


Questions for students to consider

  • Did the patient you met describe any benefits of being older?  Did anything surprise you?
  • Do you think ageism is an issue on our society and/or healthcare system? Have you seen any example of ageism personally or professionally?
  • You may have a meeting today with your tutor.  How are you finding the placement so far? How do you feel you are progressing?  Have you noticed any changes in yourself?  Do you feel comfortable in the group?  Do you feel comfortable meeting patients?