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Primary care (office-based)

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Penn Memory Center

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PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly)
PACE article





Outpatient Geriatrics Rotation for
Family Medicine and Internal Medicine Residents

Penn Memory Center

Ralston-Penn Center
3615 Chestnut Street, 1st Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Phone: 215-662-7810

Physician education at the Alzheimer’s Disease Center involves in-clinic “hands-on” training, reading and formal didactics. Physicians will learn how to:

  • Perform and interpret the tests of cognition, affect and health.
  • Perform a focused history and physical.
  • Diagnose, stage and treat dementia.

The following are course topics with the goals of each topic. To achieve these goals, the student is expected to review the assigned readings and lectures, and participate in the Penn Memory Center.

Course Topics


  1. The epidemiology, differential diagnosis and clinical course of dementia
    • Describe the pathology, clinical presentation and course of dementia
    • Understand the controversies and changing concepts in the nosology of dementia
  2. The work up of cognitive complaints
    • Have the skills to perform an office-based assessment of the patient with cognitive complaints
    • Understand the domains of cognitive function
    • Understand the instruments available to measure the domains of cognitive function
    • Understand the tests available and that may become available to diagnose dementia
  3. The treatment of patients with dementia: primary treatment
    • Understand the difference between disease slowing and symptomatic treatments for dementia
    • Be able to describe the symptoms of dementia
    • Be able to identify effective treatments for dementia
  4. The treatment of patients with dementia: management of neuropsychiatric symptoms
    • Understand the spectrum of common neuropsychiatric symptoms
    • Understand the role of medications and non-medication strategy in the treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms
  5. The treatment of patients with dementia: bioethical issues and caregiving
    • Describe the four roles of the caregiver of the patient with dementia
    • Understand the impact of dementia on each of the caregivers’ roles
    • Understand the standards for assessing a patient’s decision-making capacity
    • Develop strategies to practice effective decision-making with caregivers and patients: focus on decisions about treatment, research, end-of-life care and driving.

Methods to Achieve Course Topics

  1. Participation in Penn Memory Center:
    Week 1: Observe psychometric testing and assessment of patient and review test scoring and interpretation and physical exam
    Week 2: Observe follow-up and initial patient visits, and review the structure of an interview with a knowledgeable informant
    Week 3: Perform and dictate a patient assessment
    Week 4: Perform and dictate a patient assessment

    Students will provide Carol Edwards with their contact information so they can receive results of the diagnostic work-up of their patients that become available after they complete their clinic rotation.
  2. The following are the instructional materials organized by topic. The student is responsible for reading and viewing these materials in their off-clinic time. The papers and lectures are available via the ADC Web site. The links for these papers and the PowerPoint lecture on staging are “causes,” “diagnosis,” and “treatment and disease management” under the heading “Understanding Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias.”



Course Director
Division of Geriatric Medicine
Ralston House
3615 Chestnut Street
Phone: 215-898-8997
Fax: 215-573-8684