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Simulating complexity: providing undergraduate students with exposure in early clinical training to the multidisciplinary management of frail older people
  1. Jessica Hardisty1,
  2. Helen O’Neil2,
  3. Janice O’Connell3,
  4. Rebecca Hancock3,
  5. Rachael Lucas3,
  6. Lindsay Parkin1
  1. 1 Sunderland Pharmacy School, University of Sunderland, Sunderland, UK
  2. 2 Pharmacy Department, City Hospitals Sunderland, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, UK
  3. 3 School of Medical Education, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jessica Hardisty, University of Sunderland, Sunderland SR1 3SD, UK; jessica.hardisty{at}

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This project aims to translate the clinical experience of the multidisciplinary frailty team into a classroom-based teaching session for undergraduate healthcare students. Teaching sessions were developed, which employed the pedagogical techniques of interprofessional education and simulation to replicate the complexities of managing frail older people in clinical practice.

The implications of changing patient cohorts, in particular the rising number of frail older people with multiple comorbidities and resultant polypharmacy, for the undergraduate and postgraduate training of healthcare professionals have stimulated substantial debate.1 2 City Hospitals Sunderland (CHS) has been at the vanguard of developing a service to improve the management of frail older people in an acute setting and was an early adopter of the Frailsafe project, which aims to improve the reliability of the care of this patient group and reduce the length of hospital stays and readmission rates.3 Multidisciplinary frailty teams composed of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and allied healthcare professionals use the Frailsafe checklist4 to ensure full implementation of the existing evidence base when caring for older people in order to reduce the risk of adverse outcomes including pressure ulceration, infection, confusion and venous thromboembolism.

As part of the ongoing development of both the medical and pharmacy undergraduate curricula, there was a desire to provide students with an opportunity to learn about the multidisciplinary management of frail older people in a way that simulates the complexities both of the …

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  • Contributors All authors have fully contributed to this project and the submission of this report. All of the authors listed were involved in the initial idea for the development of this pilot initiative, all authors listed contributed to the development of the teaching materials and all authors were involved in the delivery of the sessions. JH took responsibility for writing the article in consultation with the other authors and is the guarantor for the article.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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