Identifying the Priority Topics for the Assessment of Competence in Care of the Elderly

Lesley A. Charles, Chris C. Frank, Tim Allen, Tatjana Lozanovska, Marcel Arcand, Sidney Feldman, Robert E. Lam, Pravinsagar G. Mehta, Nadia Y. Mangal



With Canada’s senior population increasing, there is greater demand for family physicians with enhanced skills in Care of the Elderly (COE). The College of Family Physicians Canada (CFPC) has introduced Certificates of Added Competence (CACs), one being in COE. Our objective is to summarize the process used to determine the Priority Topics for the assessment of competence in COE.


A modified Delphi technique was used, with online surveys and face-to-face meetings. The Working Group (WG) of six physicians acted as the nominal group, and a larger group of randomly selected practitioners from across Canada acted as the Validation Group (VG). The WG, and then the VG, completed electronic write-in surveys that asked them to identify the Priority Topics. Responses were compiled, coded, and tabulated to identify the topics and to calculate the frequencies of their selection. The WG used face-to-face meetings and iterative discussion to decide on the final topic names.


The correlation between the initial Priority Topic list identified by the VG and that identified by the WG is 0.6793. The final list has 18 Priority Topics.


Defining the required competencies is a first step to establishing national standards in COE.


priority topics; key features; enhanced skills; care of the elderly; core competencies

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ISSN: 1925-8348 (Online)