Miles Witham is a Clinical Reader in Ageing and Health, University of Dundee, and is an Associate Editor for Age and Ageing journal.
If you are reading this post in having fought through a bad winter, overburdened by emergency admissions and colleague absences, your initial reaction to the title might well be ‘Oh no, yet another area of work that someone wants me to take on’. Having been on call this weekend, I sympathise – but allow me to illustrate why I think that the time has arrived for us as geriatricians to get involved in kidney disease. Continue reading →
I never considered specializing in geriatric nursing before my academic career at New York University mainly because I have had limited interactions with the elderly. My maternal grandparents died while trying to escape the Vietnam War and my paternal grandparents lived out in the Midwest so I rarely saw them. It wasn’t until last summer that I was able to connect to geriatrics on a more personal level.
At the tail end of summer 2013, I volunteered with the medical relief organization, Floating Doctors, which provides healthcare and medical treatment to isolated coastal communities in Panama. They also worked locally with a live-in geriatric facility, the asilo, by providing regular visits to conduct check-ups and physical assessments, administer medications as well as offer companionship to the residents. For the most part, the residents were in good health and mentally present. However, open sores, scabies, dementia, and debilitation were common afflictions.
The full article can be read on the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing blog.
David Oliver is a Consultant Geriatrician in Berkshire and a visiting Professor in Medicine of Older People at City University, London. He is President Elect of the British Geriatrics Society. He writes on the King’s Fund blog about their paper, launched today.
By 2030, one in 5 people in England will be over 65 and at that age, men will on average live till 88 and women till 91. This population ageing shouldn’t constantly be catastrophised with language like “burden” “timebomb” or “tsunami”. In fact, it represents a victory for improved societal conditions and for modern healthcare – preventative and curative. Indeed, well into older age, most people report high levels of happiness, health and wellbeing and even over 80, only half say they live with life limiting long-term conditions.
However, despite the “upside” of population ageing, we need to be realistic about its inevitable implications for health and care services. Continue reading →
Sharon Xiaorong Wang is a nurse researcher at the Center of Research on Aging, Jinan, Shandong, China and is the lead investigator for the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program at the Department of Gerontology, Jinan Central Hospital.
The association between chronic disease and carers of patients with dementia has been well described in the literature. Caring for patients with memory impairment can put a strain on the health [both physical and mental] of the care-giver. Up till now, the demographics and scale of chronic disease afflicting care providers have not been well explored. We have conducted a study to examine the prevalence of chronic disease in carers of patients with dementia.
Our results indicate that more than four-fifths of care-givers reported having at least one chronic disease, and nearly two-thirds reported multiple. Continue reading →
Prof Kenneth Rockwood is Director of Geriatric Medicine Research at Dalhousie University, Canada and serves on the International Advisory Panel of Age and Ageing journal.
A July Age and Ageing paper on frailty considered how subcellular damage might “scale up” to lead to clinically detectable deficits. In December, a paper from Biogerontology addressed how deficits originate, and how they might scale. The proposed answer appears to be powerful and offers some insights into how to think about frailty and disease in older adults. Continue reading →
Kamusiime Zadok is a social gerontologist and founder of Voice of the Elderly, a community based organization aiming to support older people in the Kabale district of Uganda. He is an expert in health and social policy for older people in Uganda, and the effects of ageism on the welfare of the elderly.
As with any country, there are many older people in Uganda who are still active, healthy and independent. However, those who are frail, or in poor health, lack the social support structures available in the UK and are entirely dependent upon their families for support. This is coupled with limited treatment options for even simple conditions such as cataracts, an almost complete absence of monitoring for chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, and a lack of expertise in geriatric medicine the country.
Voices of the Elderly is a Ugandan Non-Governmental Organisation which aims to improve the state of the elderly in Kabale, South-West Uganda. Continue reading →
Urinary incontinence, the condition in which people wet themselves by accident, is a common problem for older people. Around half of older people have “bladder trouble” such as needing to rush or get up lots of times overnight to pee, and up to one in six will have accidents.
Despite this, many people view these bladder problems as a normal part of ageing (they aren’t), or as something that can’t be treated (they can). Continue reading →
Zoe Wyrko is pleased to announce the next phase of FRAILsafe, a new checklist for the acute care of frail older people.
Would you like to be involved in a national project which will change the way care is delivered to all frail older people, not just those who are able to be looked after by geriatricians on our specialist wards? Would you like to be part of work that will lead to improvements in the skills of all healthcare professionals who encounter vulnerable people in hospital? Would you like to see a reduction in the inadvertent harm caused when a frail older person needs to be admitted to hospital? If so …. read on. Continue reading →
Be good to older people. Many of your patients will be frail and vulnerable. Much of society may view them as a burden. You should not. These are mothers, fathers, husbands and wives. They have been on this planet two or three times as long as you have and many of them will have rich tales to tell. It is your job to look after them as well as you can, with empathy and kindness.
Be part of the team. Physiotherapists, occupational therapists, other allied health professionals and experienced nurses will know things that you don’t know – both day to day information, and nuggets of clinical wisdom. Introduce yourself to them, ask about progress, and feed back relevant information. You are now working in a multidisciplinary team.
Older people are really complicated. Acute coronary syndrome (to give just one example) will rarely be treated in a standardised fashion on an elderly ward. Some patients may be suitable for all the drugs on an ‘ACS protocol’. Others may not be suitable for more than one (or even none). Far more will be in between. Look at what your seniors are doing, and ask them why. Remember there is very little black and white in geriatric medicine and different doctors may do different things. Think about their reasoning and decide what kind of doctor you will be.