, Volume 24, Issue 2, pp 244-246
Date: 20 Nov 2008

Use of a Geriatric Home Visit Experience to Teach Medical Students the Functional Status Assessment

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Functional status measures strongly predict hospital outcomes and mortality, yet teaching of these measures is often missing from medical schools’ curricula. To address this deficiency, we developed a Geriatric Home-based Assessment (GHA) module for third-year medical students. The module was composed of a workshop and two to three home visits.


To determine whether the GHA module would improve students’ knowledge and proficiency in the functional status assessment.


Students completed a validated questionnaire and evaluated a standardized patient in an Observed Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE). Scores from students completing the GHA were compared to the scores of students without this experience.


Thirty-one students participated in the GHA module, and 19 students were in the control group. The mean score on the written assessment was 87% among GHA students vs. 46% in the control group (p < 0.001). The mean clinical examination score of the intervention group was also better than that of the control group (76% vs. 46%, p < 0.001).


Our GHA module was effective in improving students’ knowledge and proficiency in the functional status assessment. “Hands on” experiences like the GHA allow students to develop a solid foundation for assessing functional status and mobility.