Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Ageing and Frailty Studies
The Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Ageing and Frailty Studies is a 30 ECTS course directed towards a wide range of health-care professionals, including medicine, nursing and allied health disciplines, who wish to improve their knowledge and inform their clinical practice in the area of frailty. The Discipline of Medical Gerontology in Trinity has a wealth of expertise in ageing biology, clinical frailty assessment and management, and in frailty research. We have built on this expertise to create a Postgraduate Certificate that focuses on understanding the ageing process, how dysregulation of physiological systems can lead to frailty, and why these frailty-associated physiological changes leave the older adult more vulnerable to additional morbidity and mortality. This Postgraduate Certificate will also deliver significant content related to how to assess and manage the frail older adult in a clinical setting, including clinical training sessions. Furthermore, graduates of this proposed Postgraduate Certificate will also experience how to apply this theoretical and clinical knowledge to a research setting and learn how this research translates back to a clinical setting. The course will expand students’ knowledge and skills in the management of older adults experiencing frailty, using a range of teaching and assessments methods. This will give students the opportunity to produce assessed work which is highly relevant to the clinical environment and which develops independent life‐long learning skills. The course has four modules; (i) The Biology of the Ageing Process (10 ECTS), (ii) Frailty in Ageing Adults (5 ECTS), (iii) Frailty in Ageing Adults: Clinical Practice (5 ECTS), and (iv) Quantitative Analytical Tools for Ageing and Frailty (10 ECTS). The course is taught by the Discipline of Medical Gerontology within the School of Medicine using primarily in-person learning, as well as online-learning through the College Virtual Learning Environment. For didactic and practical portions of the modules, in-person teaching, and learning will be conducted on the Trinity main campus and St James’s Hospital. The course duration is one‐year part time. Students who undertake this course will have the opportunity to pursue further postgraduate training in the Discipline of Medical Gerontology (PGDip, MSc).
Course learning outcomes
On successful completion of the PGCert, students should be able to:
- Explain how physiological changes during the ageing process leave the body more susceptible to developing age-associated conditions
- List and explain methods of common frailty and geriatric assessment tools and their practical integration through the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment method
- Demonstrate the clinical skills necessary to perform Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment
- Demonstrate ability to apply theoretical and clinical knowledge in a research setting
Mode of delivery: blended (80% classroom, 20% online), but lectures will also be streamed live via Blackboard Collaborate and/or Zoom for students who cannot attend in person
Term schedule: Semester 1 (September – December) and Semester 2 (January to May)
Lectures, practicals and assessments will be held on Tuesday afternoons from 3 to 5pm in St. James’s Hospital, Dublin 8 and Friday afternoons from 2 to 4pm in Trinity Central, Pearse St., Dublin 2 during term time.
Module 1: The Biology of the Ageing Process (10 ECTs; Semester 1)
The aim of this module is to provide an overview of what happens to the body during the ageing process. This module will go through what happens to the body during ageing. It will provide a general overview to the ageing process and will focus on some of the key mechanisms of ageing. Through the use of age simulation suits, the students will get to experience what it is like to experience frailty. There will be focus on how age-associated physiological changes leave us more susceptible to developing diseases as we age. There will be a focus on biological determinants and stressors that accelerate the ageing process and detail how they exert their effects on the systems of the body. The module will explain the important differences between chronological and biological age and focus on the factors that can influence our rate of ageing. There will be a focus on the immune system and how age-related changes to immunity leads to increased susceptibility to diseases.
The objectives of this module are:
- Describe what happens to the body during the ageing process
- Demonstrate knowledge of major theories of ageing
- Understand the concept of biological vs chronological ageing
- Outline how certain stressors can drive accelerated ageing
- Discuss the role that genetics plays in the ageing process
- Understand age associated changes in immunity and how inflammation plays a major role in age related diseases
- Discuss the physiological changes associated with major age associated diseases and how changes to lifestyle can mitigate disease development and pathology
- The content of this module will be delivered through 10 lectures on Friday afternoons (2 – 4pm) throughout semester 1 and through associated online materials.
Module 2: Frailty in Ageing Adults (5 ECTs)
The Aims of this module are:
- Describe the clinical concept of frailty in ageing adults.
- Recognise the biological underpinnings of frailty in ageing adults.
- Differentiate the various operationalisations of frailty in ageing adults.
- Identify the relevance and importance of the assessment of frailty in healthcare settings.
- Outline the principles of comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) in the management of frailty and geriatric syndromes.
- Describe the application of CGA for the management of frailty in special specialty scenarios (e.g. surgery, oncology).
- Describe the application of CGA for the management of frailty in special patient groups (e.g. HIV, intellectual disabilities).
- The content of this lecture will be delivered through 10 lectures on Tuesday afternoons (3 – 5pm) throughout semester 1.
Module 3: Frailty in Ageing Adults: Clinical Practice (5 ECTs)
The aim of this module is to provide an overview of the clinical assessment of key geriatric/frailty syndromes with an emphasis on the practical use of common geriatric assessment tools and their practical integration through the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment method.
This module examines the assessment of four major geriatric syndromes across care settings:
- Mobility, disability and falls risk assessment
- Assessment of cognitive impairment, dementia and delirium
- Assessment and management of polypharmacy with an emphasis on appropriate prescribing tools
- Transitions between care settings including hospital discharge planning processes
- The above practical sessions will culminate in a session where the student will have an opportunity to integrate a variety of clinical assessments via a simulated Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment.
- Students will undergo practical tutorials on components of frailty assessment in a clinical environment.
- Students will be supervised and guided by clinical consultants in the four geriatric syndromes.
- Students will also undertake virtual workshops on implementing frailty services in their clinical practice.
The content of this module will be delivered through 7 practical tutorials and 3 virtual tutorials on Tuesday afternoons (3 – 5pm) throughout semester 2.
Module 4: Quantitative Analytical Tools for Ageing and Frailty (10 ECTs; Semester 2)
The Aims of this module are:
- Provide a theoretical overview of statistical methods used in the operationalisation of frailty-related parameters
- Introduce students to statistical analysis software (Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS))
- Provide students with an overview on navigating SPSS software.
- Provide detailed guidance on performing descriptive analysis using simple datasets, along with more complex bivariate and multivariate regression techniques using SPSS.
- Introduce the TILDA dataset and relevant to frailty analysis therein
- Provide overview on operationalising frailty models in SPSS using consolidated theoretical knowledge from earlier modules and new knowledge on analysis techniques from the current module.
- The content of this module will be delivered through 7 lectures and 3 virtual tutorials on Tuesday afternoons (3 – 5pm) throughout semester 2.
Prof. Nollaig Bourke, Ussher Assistant Professor in Inflammageing, Medical Gerontology, School of Medicine, Trinity Translational Medicine Institute, St. James’s Hospital
- Prof. Roman Romero‐ Ortuno, Associate Professor in Medical Gerontology, School of Medicine; Consultant Physician, St James’s Hospital
- Prof. Cathal McCrory, Associate Professor in Medical Gerontology, Discipline of Medical Gerontology
Other key teaching staff: Lectures will also be delivered by clinicians and researchers from the Discipline of Medical Gerontology and Head of Discipline, Prof. Rose Anne Kenny, Chair in Medical Gerontology, School of Medicine; Principal Investigator, The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing; Consultant Physician and Director of the Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing, St James’s Hospital.
- Health or social care professionals working with older adults in any settings. Suitable professionals include doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and allied health and social care professionals. Service managers will also be considered.
- Have a fluent command of the English language.
- Attendance to taught sessions and practicals
- Assignments and/or exams for each module
- The final mark is based on a credit-weighted average of the mark awarded in each module
- Overall pass mark: 50%
External Tuition fee: €3,899 for EU applicants and €7,797 for non‐EU applicants, plus College’s additional charges (Student Levies & Charges, non-refundable application fee).
How to apply
To apply send a brief letter of motivation and CV to:
Ms. Siobhan Hedigan
Executive Officer, Medical Gerontology
Lecture dates will be announced on this website in 2021, as soon as possible prior to the closing date.
Closing date for applications: 25 June 2021
Places are limited to 20
On acceptance to the module, online registration details will be provided to successful applicants.