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The Geriatrics Education for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) (GEMS) course provides continuing education for EMS providers. This study evaluated the effect of the course on EMS providers in a rural county by performing a prospective cohort study using a pre-postsurvey design. The Geriatric Attitude Scale, the GEMS knowledge posttest, a class satisfaction survey, and a survey evaluating EMS providers' comfort in caring for older adults were used to measure the classes' effect. Eighty-eight EMS providers participated. All passed the course and were very satisfied with it. Follow-up was completed with 77 (80%). No significant change in attitude score was identified (P=.09). Median comfort scores significantly increased for the domains of communications, medical care, abuse evaluation, and falls evaluation. Providing the GEMS course to EMS providers in a rural community resulted in students passing a posttest evaluating their knowledge regarding caring for older adults and resulted in an increase in their comfort level for the care of older adults. The effect of the training on patient outcomes needs to be identified.

(C) 2008 by the American Geriatrics Society