Background& : The geriatric population in India is projected to increase from 8% to a staggering 20% by 2050. The combination of a population boom along with advances in medicine resulting has resulted in an increase in life span, leaving India with a potential geriatric healthcare crisis in its hands leaves India with a potential geriatric healthcare crisis in its hands. India currently produces as few as 20 geriatricians per year due to limited PG seats and has only a handful of fully functioning Geriatric Departments in the public healthcare sector. Thus, there is a need to fully assess the knowledge, attitudes and current practices in geriatric healthcare among medical professionals and interns across the country.
To investigate the knowledge, attitudes and practices and perceived needs of physicians towards specialised geriatric healthcare and to assess the views towards geriatric medicine as a career option among medical interns in India.
Cross-sectional, web-based survey by forwarding the link via social media platforms.
MBBS graduates undergoing their rotatory internship and residents/postgraduate doctors in specialties relevant to the care of older persons throughout India.
A total of 800 Indian medical interns and professionals.
Demographic characteristics of medical professionals and interns included age, gender, branch of practice, working sector, availability of any geriatric facility in their workplace, etc. Responses were weighted to maintain nationwide representativeness. Knowledge, attitudes, current practices and perceived needs regarding specialised geriatric healthcare were the primary outcome measurements.
Insufficient knowledge (48.5% of professionals) regarding any specialised branch of geriatric healthcare was found. Only 9.0% medical professionals performed ‘Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment’ and even the mean score of practice of CGA was low. 96% professionals and 92% interns felt the need for specialised geriatric services throughout India with majority feeling the need for specialised OPDs. 32.7% of Interns were willing to opt for post-graduation in Geriatrics, if given a choice and those with any specialised geriatric facility available at their institute were more willing. More than 85% professionals and interns had affirmative attitudes towards the possible benefits of specialised healthcare.
There is poor practice of specialised geriatric healthcare throughout India and also a high prevalence of perceived needs among professionals and interns regarding facilities like OPDs, wards and departments. Highly affirmative attitudes were observed among both interns and professionals indicating the acceptance of suggested strategies. Majority of interns were convinced of opting for post-graduation in geriatrics when incentivized, indicating the need for prioritizing interns for capacity building in the future.

© Journal of the Association of Physicians of India 2011.