John’s Campaign: three years old, November 30th 2017 Changing the culture of care?

Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones founded John’s Campaign after the publication, in the Observer newspaper on November 30th 2014, of Nicci’s article about the death of her father Dr John Gerrard. They tweet @JohnCampaign

John’s Campaign advocates for the removal of all restrictions on family carers supporting their relatives in hospital and a positive attitude of welcome and collaboration throughout the health and care system.  It places no duty on informal carers and imposes no specific procedures on professionals – other than making their welcome explicit. Dementia is a disability as well as an illness: access to this additional level of support (if available) should be a right for people living with dementia. Information, contacts and resources can be found on the John’s Campaign website Continue reading

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

The GERIATRIC 5Ms – the 5 simple words every geriatrician needs to know (the new mantra)

Frank Molnar is a Canadian Royal College specialist in Geriatric Medicine who serves as the President of the Canadian Geriatrics Society and as the editor of that society’s Continuing Medical Education Journal. He tweets @FrankMolnarCGS

Those outside Specialized Geriatric Services have long had great difficulty understanding what specialists in Geriatrics do. We have contributed to this lack of clarity. As experts in complexity we often have difficulty communicating simply. In well-intentioned efforts to be inclusive and comprehensive we have employed long complex definitions that few outside our field can understand much less recall.

How often have you heard “what do you geriatricians really do?” Are you tired of explaining and re-explaining yourself? Are you looking for a better way to explain and sell our specialty? Continue reading

Suffering in silence: A global epidemic

This blog is the collaborative work of BGS President-Elect Prof Tahir Masud and his team Aneesha Chauhan, final year medical student, University of Oxford and Sanja Thompson consultant physician, Geratology department, University of Oxford.

Everyone has experienced loneliness. Acutely, it is a transient, often mild experience that is relieved by meaningful social interaction. However, we are living in an epidemic of chronic loneliness. More than three quarters of GPs in the UK say they see between 1 and 5 lonely people a day. Furthermore, recent prevalence data revealed that 30% of the elderly are “sometimes lonely” with 9% suffering from severe loneliness. It is being increasingly recognised that loneliness is a pathological state, with its own epidemiology, risk factors, presentations, and increased mortality and morbidity. Continue reading

The British Geriatrics Society calls for a lasting solution to the crisis in social care

eileenThe British Geriatrics Society welcomes any additional funding for social care. But we are concerned that the use of funding from increases in council tax and from funds generated by the New Homes Bonus scheme, announced today by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, fails to address the urgent need for a more lasting solution to the crisis in social care funding.

In response to the announcement, Dr Eileen Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society and a Clinical Director at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, commented:

“BGS welcomes any changes to funding of social care that help to address the current crisis that is having a direct impact on the healthcare of older people living with frailty – BGS members see the knock-on effects on a daily basis when older people present at A&E departments and when their discharge from hospital is a delayed because of a lack of capacity in the social care sector. Continue reading

John’s Campaign Conference; Stay with me

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 was one of the speakers at the John’s Campaign Conference. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS.

johns-campaignI was proud to be invited to speak this week at the John’s Campaign Conference on 12th October. The conference proved to be an oasis of light, love, and hope in the often gruelling and lonely journey of dementia. Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones, co-founders of John’s Campaign, who both have personal experience of caring for loved ones with dementia, pulled together a groundbreaking and heartwarming conference, which was nothing short of miraculous. Nicci and Julia began what they described as a ‘kitchen table revolution’ to campaign to change the draconian restricted visiting arrangements of adult hospital care, advocating that people with dementia should have the support of their loved ones while in hospital. Continue reading

Towards a new deal for people with long term health conditions

c4ccMartin Routledge is the director of the Coalition for Collaborative Care, and tweets at @mroutled

The Coalition for Collaborative Care launched towards the end of last year. It was set up to “light the blue touch paper for big changes in how people with long term heath conditions and professionals work together to produce better lives”. From an initial partnership of 15 organisations, C4CC has rapidly expanded to almost 50, including the BGS. These represent professional and system leadership in health and care, key evidence and innovation bodies, major charities for people with long-term conditions and organisations at the cutting edge of person-centred, community focused care and support. Crucially C4CC is embedding “co-production” – through people with long-term conditions and family carers being central to what it does. We are very pleased that the BGS has joined us.

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A taste of your own medicine

6680441249_b6ed9537f5_oDipti Samani is a Speciality Registrar (ST6) in Geriatric medicine working in the East Midlands South Deanery, and tweets at @HmniDipti. In this blog she looks at an inventive approach to NHS Change Day.

“Treat others as you would wish to be treated” is something I have heard time and time again growing up. I wonder if this is only true in personal relationships and dealings. Can we, and should we, extend this out into our professional lives, both in terms of our colleagues and also to the patients that we treat?

After my 2014 NHS Change Day pledge to walk in my patients’ shoes for a day by wearing a continence pad: ‘Continence: My Conscience is Clear’; I decided this year to go back to the roots of NHS Change Day and Damien Roland’s idea to taste the medicines that we give to our patients.

The aim of doing this was not just to know how (awful) some medicines taste, but to give myself and others an appreciation and awareness of what our patients go through. I wanted to highlight some of the alternative medications where available and to increase our compassion towards patients.

I took some of the common medications prescribed to older people to a lunchtime meeting in our department. The medications included: laxatives (Lactulose, Laxido), food thickeners, Sando-K, various nutritional supplements, Calogen and Hypostop – I’m sure you can think of more, but these were the most benign, unpleasant ones I could think of. The experiment was completely voluntary and I was impressed that all grades of doctor from medical student (who seemed to think it was some kind of initiation) to consultant took part. Of course I couldn’t have done this without the support of our departmental pharmacist who sought permission to support us with samples.

Feedback given from the tasters included recognition of the difficulties experienced by patients, increased care when thinking about prescribing, and empathy with patients’ experiences. It shows that it is sometimes easy to forget about the person behind the patient, and by putting ourselves in their place, it is possible to re-awaken our compassion for them:

I would love to go one step further to see if we could all be more compassionate and kinder towards each other in the work place. Patients are here to get better and we could acknowledge that they may be having a rough time; meanwhile, each of us comes to work only to do our best and to help people, and a lack of compassion with unkind words or actions towards each other just serve to depress this aim.

I would wish that by giving ourselves a taste of our own medicine this NHS Change Day, we will hopefully be able to get closer to treating others how we would like to be treated ourselves.

Photo credit: Ian Lamont via flickr

Dysphagia Awareness Campaign

Olivia Hallam, Rosa Holden and Joanne White are third year Speech and Language Therapy students from De Montfort University. Here they explain their participation in a campaign to increase awareness of dysphagia.

We will be spending five days following a sponsored ‘modified diet’ to raise awareness of swallowing difficulties (dysphagia). This means that we will only be eating ‘soft consistency’ foods (mainly purée, with added examples of a fork-mashable diet) and drinking thickened fluids (to Stage 1, Syrup consistency). . This is because, as speech and language therapists, we often work with people with dysphagia and have realised that both the level awareness and availability of resources are low.

See our short promotional video here where we explain more:

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Dr Sean Ninan is a registrar in Geriatric and General (Internal) Medicine in the Yorkshire Deanery. He blogs at Senior Moments and tweets at @sean9n and @gerisregChoosingWiselyLogo

I’m a big fan of Pharrell Williams. My housemates endured “Frontin” on repeat in the summer of 2003. That debut Justin album was dope. The Snoop and Jay-Z collaborations super fly. I love the man, but I’ve never heard him quite like this.

“It might seem crazy what I’m about to say
Less is more can often be the best way”

These are words that sing directly to the heart of a geriatrician. In a “parody” of “Happy” by Pharrell, the Choosing Wisely campaign offers us great lines such as

“Antibiotics for a cold will do nothing but make you ill
A routine screen for many things is often overkill”

You really should check out the whole video, full of people of all ages grooving here

The Choosing Wisely campaign originated in America from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation. They estimated that up to 30% of care delivered in America is duplicative or unnecessary and may not result in improved health. In response they worked with specialty societies to come up with “Things Providers and Patients should question” And now, as reported in the BMJ, they want to spread their campaign worldwide. Continue reading