Purpose: To determine the amount and type of training U.S. internal medicine residents receive in providing home care to patients.
Method: A four-item questionnaire was developed and sent to the program directors of all accredited internal medicine residencies in the United States (n = 397) to assess the amounts and types of training (didactic sessions or lectures, house calls, or both) internal medicine residents receive in providing home care. Demographic information about the residency programs was also collected and analyzed.
Results: A total of 312 (78.6%) of the program directors responded. Sixty-eight percent of their programs included instruction in home care consisting of house calls, lectures, or both. Fewer than half of the responding programs offered any lecture in home care in their curricula, and only 25% of them included a mandatory house-call experience for trainees. Residency programs that had primary care tracks were more likely than were other programs to include either of these experiences in their curricula.
Conclusions: Most internal medicine residents receive limited training in home care. As a consequence, future internists may be inadequately prepared to meet the needs of their patients, particularly as the population ages.