Care of the Elderly


VIDEO: Postgraduate Medical Education at the University of Ottawa

Care of the Elderly (CoE) Program

Dr. Kate Trebuss, PGY3 Care of the Elderly resident

Dr. Kate Trebuss (resident) at the Bruyère Geriatric Day Hospital

The PGY3 Care of the Elderly (CoE) program provides Family Medicine residents the opportunity to pursue 12 months of further training to hone their skills in the care of medically complex and frail seniors. Based out of the Department of Care of the Elderly at Bruyère Continuing Care, this dynamic program is led by a large group of family physicians with PGY3 training in CoE.

To be eligible for the CoE program, you must be certified in Family Medicine, either just finishing residency training or already in practice. You should possess an interest in and passion for improving the health and quality of life of elderly patients.

We enjoy close ties with our colleagues in Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric Psychiatry, as well as with other community-based family physicians with focused practices in care of the elderly. This ensures a wealth of learning opportunities in a wide variety of settings. There is a strong emphasis on collaboration with family physicians that provide comprehensive primary care in the community. 

Established in 1997, the program received full accreditation from the College of Family Physicians of Canada in 2010.

Residents in the Care of the Elderly program

Dr. Beth Deveaux (graduate) and Dr. Soha Shah (resident) at the Bruyère Geriatric Day Hospital

Goals and Objectives

The goals of the CoE training program are to: 

  • Prepare trainees to provide care to frail and medically complex elderly patients both in the community and in institutional settings;
  • Provide trainees with the knowledge and skills to take on leadership and administrative roles relating to the care of elderly patients;
  • Prepare trainees to act as a consultant or resource person in a rural or urban setting;
  • Participate in the development of programs aimed at improving the health and quality of life of elderly patients; and,
  • Allow participants to pursue an academic career in family practice health care of the elderly.

The CoE program aims to develop core competencies in assessing and managing elderly patients in a variety of settings. Areas of proficiency include:

  • Dementia;
  • Delirium;
  • Depression and mental health issues;
  • Polypharmacy;
  • Bowel and bladder disorders;
  • Falls and mobility issues;
  • Chronic disease management;
  • Preventive care;
  • Interprofessional collaboration; and,
  • Facilitation/planning of learning activities.

There are CANMEDS-FM rotation-specific objectives for all core rotations. You will be asked to develop specific objectives for your elective rotations, and to review these with the Program Director and the supervising physician.

Residents in the Care of the Elderly program

Dr. Beth Deveaux (graduate) and Dr. Soha Shah (resident) pose with a photo of Dr. Véronique French-Merkley (CoE Department Chief)

Program Structure

The program has core rotations in:

  • Geriatric rehabilitation;
  • In-patient geriatric medicine;
  • Geriatric psychiatry; and,
  • Outpatient work in the geriatric day hospital setting.

You will also gain longitudinal experience in long-term care and complex continuing care. Every two weeks, you will spend a self-directed half-day in Family Medicine.  These self-designed electives allow you to further tailor your PGY3 year to your career goals. 

You will be exposed to medical administration and leadership opportunities, including teaching more junior learners. You will attend geriatric academic rounds and be expected to complete a scholarly project. 


Your time in the program will be evaluated using standardized forms available through the Department of Family Medicine’s one45 system. Field notes allow us to collect direct observation evaluations.  Residents will also meet with the Program Director regularly throughout the residency period.

How to Apply

Residents currently enrolled in a Family Medicine training program, please consult the CaRMs website for details. Interested re-entry candidates please contact program director Dr. A. Chin at for further information.


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