NMC issues guidelines on PG training programme of DM in Geriatric Mental Health course
New Delhi: Through a recent notification, the National Medical Commission (NMC) has released the guidelines for the competency-based postgraduate training programme for DM in Geriatric Mental Health.
These NMC guidelines spell out in detail the subject-specific learning objectives as well as the syllabus and the teaching methods of the DM Geriatric Mental Health course with an aim to provide broad Guidelines to orient postgraduate students of Psychiatry and Geriatric Medicine on the importance of appropriate geriatric mental health care, familiarize them to the mental and other specific problems of the elderly, inculcate in them competencies on mental health care of the elderly and expose them to legal and ethical issues.
The syllabus entails the study of Basic Sciences as applied to Geriatric Mental Health to Principles and Practice of applied sciences (clinical) in Geriatric Mental Health and Related allied diagnostic and research sciences in Geriatric Mental Health with recent advances.
Moreover, the teaching and training methods outline in detail the training that a doctor needs to undergo in the three year period highlighting their participation in the teaching and training program of undergraduate students and interns. The doctors will also have to maintain a logbook indicating the procedures assisted and performed, and the teaching sessions attended. Other academic elements such as Journal Club/Review, Seminars/Topic Review, Conferences, etc are also mentioned in detail. Besides information on assessment parameters is also outlined.
"The primary goal of the program is to train postgraduate DM students in the treatment and management of geriatric mental health patients so that the doctors acquire an in-depth understanding of the practice of Geriatric Mental Health, demonstrate appropriate behaviour while dealing with the mental health needs of the geriatric subjects and their families, in alignment with the principles of the National Health Policy as well as participate in various components of the National Mental Health Program. The DM program in Geriatric Mental Health is devoted principally to clinical training, involving both inpatient and outpatient activities, communication skills for dealing with mentally ill patients and training in Research Methodology," noted the guidelines
The program includes 36 months of training and is designed to provide the experiences necessary for the DM students to develop the knowledge and skills to function as an independent Geriatric Health specialist and fulfil the requirements as mandated by the apex medical regulator.
At the end of the DM training program, the postgraduate student should be able to recognize the health needs of the community, should be competent to handle effectively psychiatric problems and should be aware of the recent advances in Psychiatry. They should acquire the necessary skills in teaching medical/paramedical students and are also expected to know the principles of research methodology.
"The aim of psychiatry is to treat mental illness and promote health to the best of his/her (psychiatrist's) ability, consistent with accepted scientific knowledge and ethical principles. Every psychiatrist should offer to the patient the best available therapy to the best of his/her knowledge. The psychiatrist should inform the patient of the nature of the illness, therapeutic procedures including possible alternatives and of the possible outcome. No procedure shall be performed nor treatment is given against or independent of a patient's own will unless because of mental illness, the patient cannot form a judgment as to what is in his/her best interest and without which treatment serious impairment is likely to occur to the health of the patient or others," stated the preamble.
"As soon as the conditions for compulsory treatment no longer apply, the psychiatrist should release the patient from the compulsory nature of the treatment and if further therapy is necessary should obtain voluntary consent. The value of positive mental health for every human being and the rights of all persons with mental disorders and with disabilities as full citizens of their countries should be recognized. All recipients of mental health services, regardless of age, gender, ethnic group or disorder must be treated in the same manner as other citizens in need of health care and their basic human rights and freedoms should be respected," the preamble further noted.
Eligibility requirements for pursuing DM in Geriatric Mental Health course: MD (Psychiatry), MD (Geriatrics/Geriatric Medicine)
Goals & Objectives:
1. Discuss and define the importance of the geriatric mental health in the context of the health needs of the community and the national priorities in the health sector.
2. Acquire an in-depth understanding of the basic sciences relevant to the practice of Geriatric Mental Health.
3. Identify social, economic, environmental, biological and psychological determinants of health in the geriatric population, and take these into 4 consideration while planning preventive, therapeutic, rehabilitative, and promotive measures/strategies.
4. Acquire knowledge and skills for educating medical and paramedical professionals in geriatric mental health care.
5. Demonstrate appropriate behaviour while dealing with the mental health needs of the geriatric subjects and their families, in alignment with the principles of the National Health Policy.
6. Participate in various components of the National Mental Health Program.
Attitudes including communication skills: The postgraduate student should acquire adequate communication skills for dealing with mentally ill patients, their relatives and attendants. Regular clinical rounds and academic presentations during the teaching program should help the trainees to develop patient-appropriate attitude, knowledge and communication skills.
Training in Research Methodology: In-house training in research methodology, Ethics and Biostatistics should be encouraged by requiring to attend workshops/courses.