Cause of death? Dementia…

Professor Emma Reynish is a consultant physician in Geriatric Medicine at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and Professor of Dementia Research, at the University of Stirling where she leads the dementia and social gerontology research group.

dementiaIn England and Wales more people now die of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease than anything else. A similar picture is most likely to exist for the other devolved nations of the UK. For healthcare professionals who are involved in the management of people with dementia, this news offers the opportunity for reflection and action. What does this mean for us and our approach to the older population? Continue reading

How can hospitals empower older people with advanced disease?

Dr Lucy Selman is Cicely Saunders International Faculty Scholar in the Department of Palliative Care, Policy, and Rehabilitation at King’s College London, and a Research Fellow at the University of Bristol. In this blog Lucy discusses her recent Age and Ageing paper on an international study of patient empowerment in hospitals in London, Dublin and San Francisco (part of BuildCARE, a project led by Prof. Irene J. Higginson at King’s College London).

superheroEmpowered patients adopt healthier behaviours, use health services more cost-effectively, and experience better quality of life than patients who feel they are passive recipients of healthcare. Across the developed world, policy-makers are waking up to the benefits for patients and health services when people are encouraged to engage with clinicians, make decisions and manage their illness in a way that reflects their own values. Continue reading

Inspiring carers – all too often overlooked

Alex Greenwood is a recent graduate who’s been exposed to the realities of domiciliary care through her work with Konnektis, a hub digitizing social care and communication, facilitating better care for those in their own homes. She tweets @konnektis 

alexHaving lost my grandparents at an early age, I had very limited understanding of the realities of care. Through my work with Konnektis, and the inherently person-centred process of co-design, I am gaining privileged access to the outstanding work of carers. A commonly misunderstood and under-appreciated profession, carers have  been absorbing the the pressures of our overstretched care system for years and the sector is now at breaking point. Whilst recent public concern over sustainability of care in the context of an aging population is an important debate, it is these inspiring carers – all too often overlooked – whose stories I wish to share in this space. Continue reading

Wrinkly hands or ‘cocaine ‘fro’? You decide…

Liz Charalambous is a qualified nurse on a female, acute medical HCOP (Health Care for Older People) ward at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospital Trust. She is currently a PhD student at The University of Nottingham. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS. Her blogs are her own opinion and do not represent the opinion of her employer.

grandmaI came across a USA you tube clip the other week which challenged my thinking on HCOP care. The footage was of a young man who has teamed up with his grandma to make, what I would describe as ‘stereotype-busting videos’ of his visits to see grandma in ‘the ‘hood’. I initially thought it was controversial and mildly exploitative (after all he talks to his grandma about her ‘cocaine ‘fro hairdo). I had to watch them a few times to decide that actually, this challenges my perceptions of how we engage with older people. Watching grandma rolling meatballs to ‘roll out’ rap music and shimmying her shoulders following a successful bottle flip challenge, I was hooked. The couple do Q & A sessions, mannequin challenges and twerking dance offs, cover naughty topics, and cause general mayhem and shenanigans at a pet store, among other (more saucy) clips, and seem to have a great deal of fun together in the process.

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Nutrition in geriatric medicine in context

Prof Finbarr Martin is a Consultant Geriatrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Professor of Medical Gerontology at King’s College London. He is a former President of the British Geriatrics Society.

tnt-geriatric-marketing-brochure-a4-v14-page-001Do you reach for protein to nibble within minutes of finishing a session at the Gym?  Many do. Protein bars, pots of creatine and drugs you can get at the Gym are all very well but they’re wasted on fit young things. What we really need to do is keep the best stuff for older people, especially our patients. So, OK, we have to justify the cost – there needs to be some evidence. On the plus side however our patients are not pulled aside by WADA or the other anti-doping bodies so they could get away with anabolics or even the odd transfusion. On the minus side maybe the anabolics don’t work! But good nutrition does!

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Nursing documentation: Mind the gap?

Liz Charalambous is a qualified nurse on a female, acute medical HCOP (Health Care for Older People) ward at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospital Trust. She is currently a PhD student at The University of Nottingham. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS. Her blogs are her own opinion and do not represent the opinion of her employer. Co-author and supervisor, Dr. Sarah Goldberg, is an associate professor at The University of Nottingham. She tweets as @se_goldberg

Introduction

docsNew research out this week highlights the importance of nursing documentation for older patients in an acute hospital setting. The research ‘Gaps, Mishaps and Overlaps: Nursing Documentation, how Does it Affect Care?’ published in The Journal of Research in Nursing found that paperwork is time consuming to complete, takes nurses away from caring for patients, and can be counterproductive to delivering good quality nursing care to older people in hospital.

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Only half of people with dementia get annual medical review

Claudia Cooper is an honorary consultant old age psychiatrist with Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. She focuses on research related to dementia and mental health in older age. Here she discusses her recent Age & Ageing paper Inequalities in receipt of mental and physical healthcare in people with dementia in the UK.

Age&Aging front cover design chosen chosenPeople with dementia experience more mental and physical health problems than people without dementia, and more frequently take medication for mental health problems, so ensuring the get fair access to mental and physical healthcare is important.

Our study looked at primary care records of 68, 061 people with dementia and 259,337 people without dementia between 2002 and 2013. We looked at how rates of mental health medication prescribing (antipsychotic, antidepressant and sedative drugs);  contact with General Practice surgeries and physical health checks  (blood pressure, weight monitoring and an annual review) varied between people living in more and less deprived areas, and between men and women. Continue reading

Global Summit on Aging and Health- personal reflections on a conference and a cultural exchange

Dr Eileen Burns has been a geriatrician in Leeds since 1992 and is President of the BGS. She is currently Clinical Lead for integration in Leeds and Chairman of the BGS Community Geriatrics Special Interest Group. She tweets @EileenBurns13

chinaI was fortunate enough to attend and speak at a Global Summit on Aging held in Shanghai recently. It was a fascinating event, with speakers from an enormous variety of backgrounds- from the US Embassy in Beijing, the World Health Organisation, and the United Nations Population Fund, as well as numerous Chinese Government office holders.

The summit was jointly organised by Columbia University, USA (under the auspices of the wonderful Professor Linda Fried) and Fudan University in China. Continue reading

Can We Choose Wisely?

Dr Ramai Santhirapala is an Honorary Consultant in Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine at Royal Surrey County Hospital and a Clinical Advisor at the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. In the latter role she advises on the international programme ‘Choosing Wisely’, which aims to improve conversations between healthcare providers and patients. Dr Santhirapala’s specialist interests are shared decision making and end of life care, believing patients should lie at the heart of healthcare decisions. She has published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine and is undertaking research into educational needs for physicians to practice shared decision making. She tweets at @ramai23

choosing-wisely_2Shared decision making (SDM) is increasingly synonymous with healthcare, moving away from paternalism towards a balanced approach to decision making involving both patients and clinicians. What exactly is SDM? That is the ubiquitous question to which there is currently no universally agreed answer. The King’s Fund intimates a definition pointing out SDM is a process during which patients and physicians use evidence based information to support the deliberation process based on patients’ values, beliefs and preferences. This highlights that a physician is still expected to bring clinical expertise, whilst a patient brings expertise on what matters to them. Continue reading

Shane O’Hanlon’s Age & Ageing Christmas Review- Part 2

Shane O’Hanlon is the Digital Media Editor for the BGS. He tweets @drohanlon

shaneThe second part of our look back at the most downloaded Age & Ageing articles of 2016…

  1. Jeanet Blom and team conducted a cluster randomised controlled trial of effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a proactive, goal-oriented, integrated care model in general practice for older people in the Netherlands. No beneficial effects were found on QoL, patients’ functioning or healthcare use/costs, but GPs experienced better overview of the care and stability, e.g. less unexpected demands, in the care.

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