Building a BGS fit for the future: final report from our Member Services & Communications Review

BGS Logo CMYKEd Gillett, Communications Manager at the BGS, highlights some key findings from the Society’s recent Member Services and Communications Review.

Since April of this year, BGS officers and staff have been busy working on a review of the Society’s member services and communications, alongside Forster Communications. More than 650 BGS members and non-members have recently responded to surveys or joined focus groups as part of this process.

Our aims with the review were twofold: firstly, we wanted to study the member services offered by the Society and the ways in which we communicate our work; then, to identify how we can improve those areas in the future, and make the Society even better. In July, a final report was presented to BGS trustees by Forster, offering into our current work and a set of recommendations for the future.

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September issue of Age & Ageing now available

The September 2015 issue of Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society is out now!

A full table of contents is available here, with editorials, research papers, reviews, short reports, case reports book reviews and more.

Hot topics this issue include:

  • Conservative management of urinary incontinence
  • Drug treatment of lower urinary tract symptoms
  • Discharging older people from the hospital emergency department
  • Screening for depression in hospital
  • Sexual behaviour and quality of life

The Editor’s View can be read here.

This issue’s free access papers are:

Open (Nearly) All Hours

1419565616_fbafd085a4_oThis year Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust became one of the first to introduce open visiting.  Dr Helen Chamberlain, a Consultant Geriatrician at Good Hope Hospital (one of the three sites run by the Trust), shares her experience of this innovation.

One of the drivers for our recent change in visiting hours was John’s Campaign.  This was started by Observer journalist Nicci Gerrard in November 2014 after death of her father Dr John Gerrard.  He had dementia, but during his admission for infected leg ulcers declined badly.  Nicci felt that had his family been allowed to visit as often as they wished, he would have been less distressed.

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When the golden years are not so golden

aaAlmira Osmanovic Thunstrom is a PhD Candidate at the Aging Research Center at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and tweets as @almirathunstrom. In this blog, she introduces her recent Age & Ageing paper on perceived stress levels amongst over-65s.

Growing up in the 1990’s my vision of ageing came from the show The Golden Girls. The show depicted ageing as a time of great joy, adventure and the daily stressors of work and children as minimal in the post-retirement years. I was also greatly blessed to live with my grandfather, whose years were far from golden. He worried about his deteriorating health, he missed his wife and eventually diseases got the best of him: he suffered from vascular dementia and passed away at the tender age of 66. Already at a young age, I witnessed how diverse the ageing process could be.

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Let’s talk about sex

aaTaylor-Jane Flynn is a Psychology graduate from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and is about to commence postgraduate training in Counselling Psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University. Alan Gow is an Associate Professor in Psychology at Heriot-Watt, and tweets @AlanJohnGow.

Their recently published Age & Ageing study examines how sexual behaviours are associated with quality of life in older adult: Taylor-Jane tells us more.

I found my inspiration for our recent Age & Ageing study while working as a Health Care Assistant caring for older adults. In recent years, many of those who opened up to me on a personal level expressed their need and want to have intimacy and companionship in their lives. However, sex has generally been seen as a taboo subject, especially among older adults. Continue reading

Measuring up with ICHOM

7343762168_d58fe252e2_oAsan Akpan is a community geriatrician in Merseyside and research fellow for the Older Persons Working Group at the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement. In this blog, he introduces ICHOM’s work and calls for your involvement. 

There’s a growing consensus around how to provide optimal care for people with multiple conditions: this involves comprehensive, continuous care and oversight. Structures and processes should focus on the person receiving care, allowing them to determine their own preferred outcomes.

Anywhere you look, a common theme is variation in care outcomes within and between healthcare organisations. Traditionally, outcome measures tend to be designed for episodic care, are focused on processes rather than people, and usually aren’t standardised. When different parts of the same healthcare organisation (or different organisations) want to compare their performance, interpretation of the outcomes is unreliable. This often impedes the important work of improving care across departments and organisations.

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Reducing hospital admissions: a new integrated model for care homes

Sally Roberts is Lead Nurse (Quality and Partnerships) at Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group. Here she describes work undertaken jointly by Walsall CCG and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, which has led to the implementation of a new integrated health care model within care homes.

Walsall’s new model of care has enabled the whole care home sector to raise standards, measurably improve outcomes for residents in care homes and reduce unnecessary hospital admissions.

Our work commenced in earnest with the nursing home sector over three years ago, at a time when there was increasing suspension of admissions, often due to poor quality and patient safety issues; these reduced market capacity and choice for people, and created financial uncertainty for some smaller independent homes. Care home managers reported in several forum meetings that they were struggling with poor staff retention, disrupting stability of care, leading to ineffective planning and viability of the home in the long term. In addition, the lack of proactive management of patients resulted in a high number of avoidable hospital admissions.

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Saddling up at the Calgary Stroke Program

CSPSarah Blayney is a Clinical Fellow in the Calgary Stroke Program at Foothills Hospital, University of Calgary. She received a BGS SpR Travel Grant to help fund her fellowship.

As the branch flicked back and caught me full in the face, I saw another coming from the side just in time to throw my weight left and precariously low over the horse’s neck. We had left the trail some time ago after encountering more fallen trees after last week’s snowstorm; the temperatures had soared to the high twenties again but this far out into the mountains there was no one around to clear the trail. Narrowly avoiding my leg being crushed against a tree as we forged our own path through the undergrowth, I wondered quite what I’d let myself in for this weekend. The initial natural obstacles encountered on the lower level trails were nothing in comparison to those up here, and the gradient was punishing for both us and the horses.

Eventually we broke the tree line and took in a spectacular view of the valley below. Any breath left was soon gone after struggling up the last section: so steep here that we were out of the saddles and down onto our feet. After three hours of hard riding my legs were
in no shape to clamber up a rocky outcrop while trying to persuade several hundred pounds of horseflesh behind me to wait his turn, but a few minutes later I sank gratefully onto the coarse grass at the top. Once up there our horizon broadened further, taking
in the mountain ranges to the north and west. Far in the distance, a hunter’s rifle fired periodically and the echo bounced around the mountains for several seconds each time. It was the hardest and most exhilarating riding I’d ever done, and the view from the
top was outstanding.

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Book review: Geriatric Medicine At a Glance

glanceDr Shane O’Hanlon is a consultant geriatrician in Reading, and edits the BGS Blog; he tweets at @drohanlon

It seems like ages since the last quality textbook in geriatrics came out, so it is great to see this new addition to the popular “At A Glance” series. I’m a huge fan of these books, with their concise 2 page summary-style chapters that are ideal for quick reference. As a medical student they were perfect for revising, once you had read the main textbook: I spent many happy nights by candlelight with Pharm At a Glance, for example! Continue reading

Could air pollution be a risk factor for dementia?

5543835085_fb0b017685_oDr Ruth Peters works at the Imperial Clinical Trials Unit of Imperial College London. In this blog, she discusses her recent Age & Ageing paper on the links between air pollution and dementia.

A few years ago, a chance conversation with a cardiologist about the adverse impact of air pollution on cardiovascular health set me thinking would such exposure also be a risk factor for dementia?

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