Why are we still not involving geriatricians in caring for our older cancer patients?

Dr. Fatou Farima Bagayogo is as a post-doctoral fellow who is currently interested in the organizational and professional factors that influence cancer care. This Fall, she is joining York University’s School of Health Policy and Management as an Assistant Professor in health management and global health. Some of her work is listed here. In her recent co-authored paper, she discusses creation in a hospital of a geriatric oncology clinic whose mandate is to facilitate the inclusion of geriatrics-based expertise in the care of older cancer patients.

aaSixty percent of new cancers are diagnosed in patients older than 65 years of age. Given the vulnerabilities of older cancer patients, cancer specialists increasingly need the inclusion of some geriatric competence in managing these patients. Geriatricians can help them with a better assessment of a patient’s condition and a more adapted handling of these patients’ vulnerabilities. Considering the ageing of the population and the fact that cancer care will have to be increasingly adapted to the age group that will make the bulk of cancer patients, we studied whether or not this adaptation is taking place and the associated reasons. We tried to identify and explain the patterns of referrals from cancer specialists to a clinic staffed by geriatricians who are interested in being involved with older cancer patient care. Continue reading

July issue of Age and Ageing journal out now

The July 2016 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:

  • Frailty index based on basic laboratory and clinical measures
  • Dietary protein and ageing
  • Do you want to live to be 100
  • Social engagement and cognitive ageing
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and progression of dementia

The Editor’s View can be read here.

This issue’s free access papers are:

Delirium research in care homes: Trojan Horses and Holy Grails!

Najma Siddiqi is a Clinical Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry who works at the University of York & Hull York Medical School; and Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust. She discusses her Age & Ageing paper ‘The PiTSTOP study: a feasibility cluster randomized trial of delirium prevention in care homes for older people’.

aaDelirium (often called ‘Acute Confusional State’) is a common and serious illness among older people. It can be very distressing for patients, their families, and for healthcare staff; and can lead to worsening dementia, hospitalisation and death.

There is relatively little research on delirium in general, but this is particularly true of delirium in the care home setting. Continue reading

Retirement is nothing to be afraid of according to new research

aaResearch published today in Age & Ageing, the scientific journal of The British Geriatrics Society, reveals that retirement promotes enjoyment of everyday activities and general well-being. The study examined participants’ enjoyment of activities such as going to the gym or reading a magazine, as they transitioned from work into retirement. Retirees reported that they actually got greater enjoyment from doing the same things they did before retirement. Continue reading

Integrated care for frail older people: does it work?

Emiel Hoogendijk is postdoctoral researcher at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, where he works for the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. He discusses his Age & Ageing paper ‘How effective is integrated care for community-dwelling frail older people? The case of the Netherlands’

aaHow can we optimise quality of care for frail older people in the community? That is an important question, which is not easy to answer. Integrated care programs are often seen as the solution. These programs are characterised by a multidisciplinary approach, with personalised care based on comprehensive geriatric assessments. In many countries, these programs are implemented in primary care. However, the beneficial effects of these programs are not so clear. It is important to report on both successful and less successful initiatives in the field. By comparing effective and non-effective interventions we may identify elements which can make a difference for frail older people. Continue reading

Education as protector against dementia, but what exactly do we mean by education?

Francisca S. Then is researcher at the Institute of Social Medicine, Occupational Health and Public Health (ISAP) and the LIFE – Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases at the University of Leipzig, Germany, with a major research focus on the epidemiology of cognitive decline and dementia. She discussed her recent Age & Ageing paper ‘Education as protector against dementia, but what exactly do we mean by education?

diploma-1390785_960_720Attaining a higher level of education is considered to be important in order to keep up good cognitive functioning in old age. Higher education also seems to decrease the risk of developing dementia. This is of high relevance in so far that dementia is a terminal disease characterized by a long degenerative progression with severe impairments in daily functioning. Continue reading

Early intervention can reduce elder abuse by family carers according to new research

 

aaResearch published this week in Age & Ageing, the scientific journal of The British Geriatrics Society, reveals that over one-third (36.8%) of family carers engage in behaviours that may act as early warning signs. They may predict more seriously harmful future psychological or physical abuse of an older person in their care. Early identification and intervention with family carers involved in these types of “precursor” behaviours would help prevent more serious elder abuse in future and improve quality of care.

The study, which was funded by the Health Service Executive as part of the work of the National Centre for the Protection of Older People (NCPOP) at University College Dublin, found in a national survey that over a third of family carers (35.9%) reported engaging in potentially harmful behaviour with verbal abuse being commonly reported. Continue reading

‘Help yourself’; Supporting older people towards independence

Rudi GJ Westendorp, is Professor of Medicine at Old Age at the Department of Public Health and Centre for Healthy Ageing, University of Copenhagen. In this blog he discusses his recent Age and Ageing paper New horizons: Reablement – supporting older people towards independence.

cottage

The majority of older people wish to remain independent and live in their own homes for as long as possible. Instead maintaining a cruising altitude however, the process of ageing forces many to descend towards dependency and long-term care.

It’s never too late to learn new ways for coping by yourself and to make preparations for independent living in older age. But it is a shame that too often these good intentions are superseded by doubts and avoidance. Continue reading

Systematic biases in death certification: a job for the Medical Examiner?

Katherine Sleeman is an NIHR Clinician Scientist and Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London. In this blog she discusses her recent Age and Ageing paper on death certification in dementia. @kesleeman

portraitIt is frequently said that there are just two universal certainties: death and taxes. While HMRC is responsible for ensuring that taxes are paid, information about who dies, where, and how, is gathered through death certification.

Dementia is a public health priority of increasing importance. In 2014, it was reported that dementia had overtaken cancer and cardiovascular disease as the most common cause of death for women in England. We have previously shown that the proportion of death certificates in England where dementia was mentioned as a cause of death doubled between 2001 and 2010.

But what is unclear is why dementia deaths appear to be increasing. Is it due to an increasing prevalence of dementia in our ageing society? Due to increased detection of dementia, perhaps? Or does this increase simply represent an improvement in death certification practices over time? Continue reading

May issue of Age and Ageing out now

The May 2016 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:

  • Electronic frailty index
  • Exercise to reduce fear of falling
  • Involving care home residents in research
  • Patient knowledge of prescribed medicines
  • C-reactive protein, frailty and multimorbidity

The Editor’s View can be read here. Continue reading