The 5 Ms of Geriatric Medicine

Despite a rapidly growing senior population worldwide, many of whom have complex healthcare needs, there is a shortage of doctors who specialize in geriatric medicine.  Few people truly understand what unique training geriatricians receive that provides them with the skill and knowledge to better treat older adults.  That’s why the Canadian Geriatrics Society has developed a framework to help the public and other health care practitioners better understand geriatric medicine. 

According to a recent British Geriatrics Society Blog, the Geriatric 5Ms, the framework of key core competencies in Geriatrics, helps people outside the field better understand and remember what it is exactly that a geriatrician does.  The 5Ms include Mind, Mobility, Medications, Multi-complexity, and Matters Most.  

The first M,  Mind refers to mentation (mental activity), dementia, delirium, and depression.  Mobility is the next area of expertise geriatric practitioners focus on while treating older adults and includes impaired gait and balance and fall injury prevention.  Medications are a key component of geriatric care that encompasses polypharmacy (taking 5 or more prescription medications daily), de-prescribing, optimal prescribing, adverse medication effects, and medication burden.  Many older adults have more than one physical or mental health condition; Multi-complexity involves multi-morbidity (having a disease, symptoms of a disease, or medical problems due to a treatment), as well as complex bio-psycho-social situations.  Geriatric clinicians are also trained in uncovering what Matters Most for the patient, each individual’s own meaningful health outcome goals and care preferences.

Learn more here about how the expertise of Geriatric Medicine can help improve care among elderly and frail adults, many with multimorbidity.  With a more holistic approach to senior patient care, older adults can experience a better quality of life and hopefully a better end of life as well.

By 2030, all baby boomers will be older than 65 making 1 in 5 U.S. residents of retirement age.  By 2034 there will be 77 million people 65 years and older with seniors projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.