Book Review: Please tell me…

Liz Charalambous is a nurse and PhD student. She tweets @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS. Here she reviews ‘Please tell me…’ by Julia Jones and Claudia Myatt.

Without a doubt, one of the most important documents in older person care is the Alzheimer’s Society This is me support tool. It enables carers to access information with which to provide holistic care and is underpinned by a social model of care rather than a medical model, so important in today’s world of fast paced, pressurised, and increasingly politicised healthcare services. It places the person in the centre of care, ensuring their likes, dislikes, and preferences are recorded for the whole team to access.

Indeed, a favourite teaching strategy when introducing new students to dementia care is to provide them with two copies of ‘this is me’ and ask them to take them home for their partners or significant others to complete in the manner of ‘Mr and Mrs’ style 1970s TV programme. I have heard many stories of students returning the next day reporting back to the group that their other half had failed hopelessly in filling in the form, prompting them to realise the precariousness of ensuring person centred care in such instances. Continue reading

Reflections on ‘NOT Forgotten Lives: Felixstowe 2017’

Liz Charalambous is a nurse and PhD student. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS. Here she reviews ‘NOT Forgotten Lives: Felixstowe 2017’ edited by Julia Jones and Bertie Wheen

‘NOT Forgotten Lives’ is a written record, produced for the 2017 Felixstowe Book Festival, which celebrates the lives of older people living locally in residential accommodation. This slim volume is organised by an overview of what life story work is about, followed by photographs and accounts of the life stories of residents living in nursing and residential accommodation in Felixstowe. It concludes with a personal reflection from the co-editor, Bertie Wheen.

Why is this book important?

In a world where dementia is on the increase there are political, economic, ethical and often personal reasons why society must wake up to the reality of the disease. Currently an estimated 50 million people worldwide live with dementia, with a forecast of 131.5 million by 2050.  In the UK there are 850,000 people living with the disease, estimated to increase to 2 million by 2050. These figures alone suggest that dementia is a disease which can no longer be ignored. Continue reading

Book Review: Problem Solving in Older Cancer Patients

Dr Shane O’Hanlon is a consultant geriatrician with a special interest in surgical liaison and cancer care for older people. He tweets @drohanlon

book reviewAs geriatricians seem ever thinly spread, the possibility of us providing input to the population of older people with cancer seems challenging – especially when you consider that a majority of cancer diagnoses and deaths occur in the over 65s. However oncogeriatrics has taken root in the past 2 or 3 years and there are now a few centres nationally offering just this approach. For those geriatricians who are hoping to provide it (or oncologists who are trying to entice them) this book will be of great interest.

“Problem solving in older cancer patients” is published in association with the Association of Cancer Physicians (ACP), and also the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) (but this of course does not affect the objectivity of this review!). It represents a great team effort by a range of geriatricians and oncologists, including trainees. Continue reading

‘Beloved old age and what to do about it’ A review for Julia Jones

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 tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS.

Margery Allingham

Julia JonesBeloved old age is a fitting tribute to Margery Allingham, author of detective fiction (including most notably that of Albert Campion, later converted to a TV series). Published on the 50th anniversary of Allingham’s death, and illustrated with black and white photographs from both eras, the book is a work of two parts. It contains the accounts of caring for older relatives, seamlessly interposed between each era to span over half a century. Allingham’s previously unpublished work, ‘The Relay’, describes her experiences of caring for three elderly relatives more than fifty years ago. The account is brought to life by Julia Jones as she picks up the baton and continues the story with her experiences of being a carer for her mother with dementia, to present the story of ‘Beloved old age and what to do about it’. Continue reading

Book Review: Essential geriatrics (Third Edition) by Henry Woodford

Shane O’Hanlon is a geriatrician in Reading, and Digital Media Editor & Honorary Deputy Secretary at the British Geriatrics Society. He tweets @drohanlon

As a trainee I often dreamed of a single book that would cover everything a geriatrician needed to know! In reality, I had to consult a wide variety of volumes depending on my question so my shelf was weighed down with Lecture Notes, Case Histories, Law & Ethics, Physiology, Cardiology, etc.9781910227657

The first edition of Essential Geriatrics was published during my training, but somehow didn’t register on my radar. That text has since been updated and revised, and now a third edition has just been published.
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Book review – “Geriatric Medicine: An Evidence Based Approach”

9780199689644_450Philip Braude is an ST6 in Geriatric Medicine, specialising in perioperative medicine.

Geriatric Medicine: An Evidence Based Approach, edited by Frank Lally and Christine Roffe, is written by an eminent list of international experts condensing key and often difficult issues in modern geriatrics to chapters of a few pages. It aims to be a “clinical reference for health care professionals” but is certainly not a comprehensive geriatric medicine text.

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Book Review: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Shane O’Hanlon is a Consultant Geriatrician (Surgical Liaison and Cancer Care), Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support. 

As a geriatrician who works with surgeons every day, I was intrigued to see what Atul Gawande’s latest book had to say – apparently it was all about what happens in later life. But was it just a misguided attempt by a surgeon to write a book on geriatric medicine?

Gawande has been a general surgeon and a professor at Harvard for over a decade. During that time he began writing for the New Yorker, and is now well known in patient safety circles for his successful books “Complications” and “The Checklist Manifesto”. He is seen as a sensible writer who doesn’t shy away from talking about his own mistakes. This humble approach also pervades “Being Mortal”, which considers how healthcare treats the old and dying, and asks “What really matters in the end?”

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