Rebecca Winter is an Elderly Medicine registrar; she is currently taking a year out of programme as a Clinical Education Fellow at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS). Twitter: @rebeccawinter27
Muna Al-Jawad is an Elderly medicine consultant at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Brighton. She works on a mixed acute medical and mental health ward.
It’s a familiar scenario, you are on your Elderly Medicine placement and you are asked: “Can you get collateral history about Mrs Smith´s cognition?” You don´t want to miss anything, but what exactly do they want to know?
Dementia is an increasingly common and important condition. In the UK, at least one quarter of acute hospital beds are occupied by patient with dementia, with admissions spread across a broad range of specialties. (1) Despite this, the UK National Dementia Strategy (2) has highlighted deficiencies in behaviour and skills of healthcare professionals caring for people with dementia. Continue reading →
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.
Do 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!
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
Shared 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 →
Adhi (V Adhiyaman), geriatrician and Chair of Welsh council of the BGS. Tweets at @adhiyamanv
Diogenes was a controversial Greek philosopher who lived in the fourth century BC. He was a cynic and rejected many conventional ideas and lived in a large clay jar in the city of Athens. He lived in a squalor and rejected ideas of normal human decency.
Diogenes syndrome is a disorder characterized by self-neglect, domestic squalor, apathy, compulsive hoarding of garbage and more importantly lack of shame. The syndrome does not refer to the intelligence or the philosophies of Diogenes but rather refers to the way Diogenes lived. A person with primary Diogenes syndrome is intelligent but aggressive, stubborn, suspicious, emotionally labile and has an unreal perception of life. Continue reading →
Dr Eileen Burns, who takes office today as the new President of the British Geriatrics Society, has called for public recognition that older people facing delays in discharge from hospital are the victims of underfunding of social care and not ‘the problem’. Dr Burns is urging members of the public, and media, to reject pejorative terms like ‘bed blockers’ and urge the Government to give social care the priority it deserves.
Dr Burns is only the second female President since the Society was founded in 1947. She has been a consultant geriatrician in Leeds for twenty-two years, and is an expert in community geriatrics. The primary focus of community geriatrics is to reduce admissions to hospital, and prevent delayed discharges and re-admissions, by ensuring that older patients receive adequate and appropriate care within their community.
Accessible social care is a key factor in reducing hospital admissions and delayed discharges for older people. According to research published earlier this month by Age UK, the number of older people in England who don’t get the social care they need has soared to a new high of 1.2 million – up by a staggering 48% since 2010. Continue reading →
Sarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that accompanies ageing, has emerged as a key topic in geriatric medicine and represents a rapidly expanding field of research. Prevalence may be as high as 1 in 3 for frail older people living in care homes. There is increasing appreciation of sarcopenia’s importance for an ageing population and a growing understanding of its causes. The condition is closely linked to physical frailty and detection of sarcopenia is beginning to be incorporated into clinical practice, and to undergo large clinical trials.
To better represent this area the British Geriatrics Society has announced the formation of a new Special Interest Group (SIG) focusing on sarcopenia and frailty research.
In addition, to help raise the profile and aid the recognition of sarcopenia, a dedicated session covering diagnosis and treatment of the disease is being held at the BGS Autumn Meeting in Glasgow. Continue reading →
Advancements in medicine are a great success story, and as a result our patients are living longer, but they are also increasingly living with multiple, long term conditions and that brings a number of challenges for general practice and the wider NHS.
Older patients make up the majority of those attending GP surgeries and acute hospitals so getting the right combinations of care in the right place and at the right time is crucial to avert avoidable admissions and delayed discharge from hospital. Continue reading →
Mary Ni Lochlainn is an Academic Clinical Fellow in Geriatric Medicine. BGS Junior Members’ Representative and on the BGS Trainee’s Council. She works at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich @younggeris. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) is open to all medical students and Foundation Year doctors and is completely FREE!
I joined the BGS as a first year medical student and thus have benefited from free membership for quite a few years now, and would highly recommend it to all those who are interested in the healthcare of older adults.
You do not have to have your mind set on specialising in geriatric medicine; as we all know the proportion of people older than 65 is growing faster than any other age group (WHO, 2002). In the United Kingdom the population aged 65 years and older is set to increase by two-thirds to reach 15.8 million in 2031 (Wise, 2010). Geriatric medicine is set to become the largest and most exciting specialty in medicine! Beyond that, healthcare professionals in all other specialties (medical, surgical and the rest) will be dealing with more and more older adults in their services. Continue reading →