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Assessing Decisional Capacity Curriculum

Assessment of Capacity of Older Adults: A Growing Challenge for Physicians

The 21st century is bringing about vast changes in the demographics of the United States. Notably, the population is aging at a rapid rate, and incidence of chronic illness and dementia is increasing, the disability population is aging, the nature of medical choices is changing due to evolving medical technology, and health care delivery systems are becoming increasingly complex. These trends bring health care clinicians up starkly against a growing challenge:

The Rising Tide of Patients With Diminished Decisional Capacity

The proposed training will primarily target physicians (and secondarily medical students) including clinicians in acute and long-term care settings, outpatient facilities and office settings; and will include a diversity of medical disciplines such as internal medicine, geriatrics, neurology and psychiatry. Other professionals such as nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, psychologists and gerontologists also will find the curriculum useful.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Determine the need to evaluate your patients capacities
  • List the 10 key tenets of capacity assessment principles and practices
  • Evaluate a patient following the specified process
  • Identify different capacities and situations
  • Assess when to conduct an evaluation and when to refer
  • Describe the process of working with courts in guardianship proceedings

 Fee Schedule and Course Components

  • $200 for four Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits
  • $100 for four Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) credits, four Continuing Education Units (CEU) or a Certificate of Completion
  • $50 for students

This course is split into six modules and is expected to take no longer than four hours to complete. You have two months to complete the course. You do not need to complete the entire course in one sitting. You will be able to log off and then log back on. A course outline is available on the website to provide further details of course content. There is a brief post-test (about five questions) at the end of each module. A score of 80 percent on each module quiz is required to receive continuing education credit. A downloadable curriculum is available at no extra fee to each registrant of the course. A downloadable glossary and a resource page are also available.

The Retirement Research Foundation generously supported the development of this curriculum.

For more information, please contact Michelle Hochwert at If you would like to enroll, please complete the registration form.

Rush University Medical Center is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. Rush University Medical Center designates this live activity for a maximum of (4) AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s). Physicians should claim only credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Rush University is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation. Rush University designates this live activity for (4) Continuing Education credit(s).

Rush University is an approved provider for physical therapy (216.000272), occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, social work (159.001203), nutrition, speech-audiology, and psychology by the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. Rush University designates this live activity for (4) Continuing Education credit(s).

Completion of the entire program, an evaluation and a score of 80 percent or higher on each post-test is required to obtain a CE certificate.

The course director, planners, faculty and reviewers of this activity have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

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