Ninety-six-year-old Dominic Cestoni may have lived through six generations in his lifetime, but as a KPCC article has pointed out, he hasn’t let time slow him down.
This year he was able to teach two young medical students valuable lessons on improving geriatric care.
By spending time with Cestoni, his two students were able to internalize the value UC Irvine places on getting to know their patients in order to customize healthcare plans to meet individual needs.
Cestoni and his students have just participated in the freshman year of the Student/Senior Partnership Program (SSPP), one of the cornerstones of the geriatrics education program for medical students at University of California, Irvine School of Medicine.
During their first year of medical school, each student is partnered with an older adult who is a patient in the UC Irvine Senior Health Center located at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange.
Medical students interact with their senior partner for a period of one academic year. These interactions include four required visits which are a combination of a house call, two healthcare visits and an activity of the senior’s choice.
This year, these activities have included such diverse things as big family dinners, swimming and bowling. Cestoni chose to prepare a delicious Italian meal for his already-enamored students. Not surprisingly, both have asked to come back to visit.
This program facilitates an opportunity for students to gain perspective on aging and to learn about caring for the special health care needs of the older adult. Emphasis is placed on developing skills in communication, health literacy, and shared decision making, key aspects of the patient-physician relationship.
The SSPP is a collaborative effort between the Program in Geriatrics and Medical Education at UC Irvine School of Medicine. It is currently funded through the Donald W. Reynold’s Foundation, our four-year grant supporting the development of geriatric education at UC Irvine. If you are an older adult in our SeniorHealth Clinic and interested in volunteering for this program, please call: 714.456.5530.