New guidelines for recognising and assessing pain in older adults

New recommendations to help healthcare professionals recognise and assess levels of pain in older people were published today in the scientific journal Age and Ageing. The guidelines were developed by the British Geriatrics Society, the British Pain Society, the Royal College of Nursing, in collaboration with researchers at Teesside University, Anglia Ruskin University, University of Bournemouth, Centre for Ageing Better, and the Centre for Positive Ageing.

There is growing evidence to demonstrate that chronic pain is more prevalent among the older population and pain that interferes with everyday activities increases with age. Alleviating pain in the older population is therefore a priority but presents a number of challenges, especially in relation to communication with patients. These guidelines seek to address specific areas in which improvements can be made. To support this aim all existing publications on acute and chronic pain screening and assessment in adults over 60 years of age were identified, and two reviewers independently read and graded the papers according to the National Health and Medical Research Council criteria (1999b). Continue reading

Palliative care provisions are not meeting the needs of an ageing population

A commentary published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, warns despite the fact that frail older people with multiple illnesses and end stage dementia are the most rapidly growing group in need of palliative care current provisions are not aligned to meet their needs.

The authors of the commentary noted that current projections indicate that between 25% and 47% more people may need palliative care by 2040 in England and Wales. A high proportion of these people will die following a prolonged period of increasing frailty and co-morbidity including cancer, but also other long-term conditions such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or renal failure. Continue reading

March 2018 issue of Age and Ageing journal is out now

The March 2018 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, expert reviews, short reports, case reports and more.  

Hot topics in this issue include:

  • Increasing medication use in older people
  • Frailty and mortality
  • Excessive alcohol intake in later life
  • Z-drugs, falls and fractures
  • Research methods for cohort studies

    The Editor’s View article gives an overview of the issue with a summary of highlights. This article is free to read and can be viewed here. Continue reading

    200 years of Parkinson’s disease

    Gavin Gordon is a medical student from Newcastle University currently intercalating in the History of Medicine MA programme. He is the co-author of “200 Years of Parkinson’s disease: what have we learnt from James Parkinson?” recently published in Age and Ageing.

    The 200th anniversary of James Parkinson’s seminal Essay on the Shaking Palsy gives cause for commemoration and reflection. Parkinson’s astute observation and careful description of only six patients led to one of the earliest and most complete clinical descriptions of Parkinson’s disease. With the concept of a syndrome still not fully realised, Parkinson was among the first writers to unify a set of seemingly unrelated symptoms into one diagnosis. Continue reading

    Using a frailty index in the Emergency Department

    Dr Audrey-Anne Brousseau is the first fellow in geriatric emergency medicine in Canada. She was recently appointed as assistant professor at the Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec. Her work focuses on developing best practices for older adults in the emergency department.

    EDs are often the safety net of the health care system where the mission is to (rapidly) evaluate, intervene and organize transitions of care. With the aging of the population and the growing presence of older adults in EDs, this mission represents a significant challenge because older adults are complex on multiple levels.

    How do we determine whether a patient is fit to go back home — or not?  Needs admission —  or not? Would benefit from rehabilitation, additional community services, further assessment — or not?  A comprehensive geriatric assessment will provide this answer, but is rarely readily available in most EDs. Moreover, human and material resources are often limited in public health care system preventing all older adults ED patients to get a geriatric assessment and appropriate interventions. Continue reading

    Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

    A study published recently in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third of these people will be diagnosed with dementia, depression or a cognitive impairment.

    The study, conducted by researchers at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, found that over the next 20 years there will be a massive expansion in the number of people suffering from multiple diseases, known as multi-morbidity. As a result two-thirds of the life expectancy gains, predicted as 3.6 years for men, 2.9 years for women, will be spent with four or more diseases. Continue reading

    Qualitative Research in Age and Ageing

    This themed collection of Age and Ageing articles includes a selection of papers published over the last 10 years which highlights the value of qualitative methodologies in health services research, particularly in understanding patient experience of health and illness and decision making about treatment and preventive care. We hope this issue will raise awareness of the scope for further contributions and encourage authors to submit papers reporting qualitative studies to the journal.

    Summary of topics and themes:

    In an editorial in Age and Ageing (5), we drew attention to the way in which the application of qualitative research methods within the social science disciplines of sociology, anthropology and social psychology can enrich understanding of ageing and illness: for example, through eliciting the meaning and process of ageing, health and illness from the perspective of older people; the practice of service delivery and what shapes it; and the beliefs, values and ‘taken for granted ‘knowledge that professionals may apply in their work with older people. Continue reading

    January 2018 issue of Age and Ageing journal is out now

    The January 2018 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 in this issue include:
    •  Acute coronary syndromes
    • Haloperidol and prevention of
    • Oral anticoagulants in atrial fibrillation
    • Vertebral fragility factures
    • Enteral tube feeding in dementia

    The Editor’s View article gives an overview of the issue with a summary of highlights. This article is free to read and can be viewed here. Continue reading

    Predicting who will be admitted to a care home from hospital?

    Jenni Burton is a Clinical Research Fellow in Geriatric Medicine funded by the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre and the Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh. Here she discusses the results of two linked systematic reviews of predictors of care home admission from hospital. She tweets @JenniKBurton.

    Care home admission from hospital has long been recognised as an area of significant variation in practice (Oliver D et al. 2014. Making our health and care systems fit for an ageing population) and one which remains a strategic target to reduce across the UK. However, more than half of care home admissions each year in Scotland come directly from hospital settings. It is therefore important to explore the predictors of this life-changing transition to help inform prognostication, communication with individuals and their families, service planning and the extent to which we can intervene to prevent or modify this outcome.  Continue reading

    HIV and Older People

    World AIDS Day is dedicated to fighting stigma and discrimination, and raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. We mark this day by, in turn, raising awareness of older people with HIV.

    Incidence and prevalence of HIV in older people is increasing. In the UK one in five adults with HIV is aged over 50. This is a consequence both of the expansion in uptake of HIV testing and diagnosis and major improvements in treatments which are helping people with HIV to live longer.

    The fact that older people with HIV are living longer where there is access to treatment is a cause for celebration but it also brings challenges for geriatric medicine. Older people with HIV commonly experience co-morbidities such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and dementia. Medical management of HIV in older people requires considerations of complex drug interactions and co-morbidities.

    Early diagnosis of HIV is key to improving prognosis. Treatment with highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) significantly prolongs life expectancy, however it is associated with an increased risk of side effects in older patients. Continue reading