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 renders the older adult more vulnerable to 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. Furthermore, graduates of this Postgraduate Certificate will learn 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 living with 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) (same as standalone module), (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 online-only through the College Virtual Learning Environment.
Course learning outcomes
On successful completion of the PGCert, students should be able to:
- Explain how physiological changes during the ageing process render the body more susceptible to developing age-associated conditions
- List and explain common frailty and geriatric assessment tools and their practical integration through Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment
- Reflect on the clinical skills necessary to perform Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment
- Demonstrate ability to apply theoretical and clinical knowledge in a research or quality improvement settings
Mode of Delivery: Online, lectures will be streamed live via Blackboard and/or Zoom.
Schedule: Semester 1 (September – January) and Semester 2 (January to June)
Lectures, tutorials and assessments will be held on Tuesday afternoons from 3-5pm (Standard Irish Time) and Friday afternoons 2-4pm (Standard Irish Time) 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. It will provide a general overview to the ageing process and will focus on some of the key mechanisms of ageing. 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 lectures on Friday afternoons (2 – 4pm Standard Irish Time) 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 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 virtual 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 vertical practical tutorials on components of frailty assessment in a simulated clinical environment.
- Students will undertake virtual workshops on implementing frailty services in their clinical practice.
The content of this module will be delivered through virtual tutorials on Tuesday afternoons (3 – 5pm Irish Standard Time) 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 tools
- 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 exemplify to frailty analyses therein
- Operationalise and exemplify statistical methodologies for Quality Improvement (e.g., Statistical Process Control Charts).
- The content of this module will be delivered through virtual lectures on Friday afternoons (2 – 4pm Standard Irish Time) 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 (Course co-Director)
Other key teaching staff: Lectures will also be delivered by clinicians and researchers from the Discipline of Medical Gerontology
- 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.
- Hold at least a 2.1 honors degree from an Irish university or equivalent result from a university in another country.
- Display a high level of competence in the English language in one of the examination systems recognised by Trinity College Dublin (see https://www.tcd.ie/study/apply/admission-requirements/postgraduate/).
- Attendance to virtual sessions
- 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%
For fees information, see https://www.tcd.ie/academicregistry/fees-and-payments/
How to apply
To apply, visit https://www.tcd.ie/courses/postgraduate/courses/advanced-ageing-and-frailty-studies-pgradcert/
For informal enquiries, please contact Ms. Siobhan Hedigan, Executive Officer, Discipline of Medical Gerontology, email: email@example.com