Postgraduate diploma courses in geriatric psychiatry

Jeremia Heinik, Isaac Solomesh, Pinhas Berkman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Training in geriatric psychiatry constitutes a fundamental element toward further development of this relatively new branch of medicine. However, it varies both in quantity and quality among different countries, healthcare providers and medical schools. Objectives: To describe the demographic and professional characteristics of participants in postgraduate diploma courses in geriatric psychiatry, and the perceived contribution of the courses; and to compare these variables among the participants in 1 year and 3 year courses, and between psychiatrists and non-psychiatrists. Methods: A retrospective self-administered questionnaire was mailed to the 153 physicians who participated in the two courses. The 60 questionnaires completed and returned were analyzed. Results: Participants in the courses constituted a heterogenous group in terms of demographic and professional characteristics, with no differences between 1 year and 3 year course participants, or between psychiatrists vs. non-psychiatrists (with the exception of more involvement of non-psychiatrists and 1 year course participants in old-age homes). Most responders indicated both the theoretical and practical benefits and application to daily practice of the material learned. Similarly, most responders indicated that after the courses they definitely used general assessment scales to a much greater extent, particularly cognitive scales, as well as operational diagnostic criteria for dementia. Participants in the 3 year course reported more significant use of assessment scales compared with 1 year participants, and 3 year participants and psychiatrists used the cognitive scales more often. There were no other significant differences between 1 year and 3 year participants and between psychiatrists' and non-psychiatrists' reports regarding general and more specific contributions of the courses. Conclusion: Postgraduate diploma courses in geriatric psychiatry seem to have a favorable effect on participants, irrespective of course duration or specialty. However, course duration positively influenced the implementation of assessment scales in general, and cognitive scales in particular. A prospective comparative study on this subject is warranted, with stricter definitions of participants' pre-course and post-course background, attitudes, knowledge and benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-359
Number of pages4
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 May 2003


  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Postgraduate studies
  • Psychogeriatrics
  • Training


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