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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Link

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

Fit for Frailty

Dr Gill Turner is Vice President – Clinical Quality for the BGS and project lead for Fit for Frailty –  guidance published today on the recognition and management of older patients with frailty in community and outpatient settings. 

Frailty, or the ‘F’ word, must score as the most talked about condition over this last year. It is hard to go to any scientific meeting, participate in any discussion about health service development or even read a newspaper without encountering the  ‘ F ‘ word.

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But what does it mean?  It is likely that frailty means different things to each audience ranging from a scientific phenotype with specific outcomes in the Framingham heart study to a social description of someone in the last months of their life.

However, the real meaning of frailty for the NHS and social care is the possibility of identifying a group of older people, for whom services need to be specifically focused to improve quality and safety. The expectation is that through increasing effectiveness in proactive care, increasing efficiency and value for money will follow.

The British Geriatrics Society which represents more than 2700 UK specialists in health care for older people (doctors, nurses and allied health professionals) has produced  Best Practice Guidance for Frailty in community and outpatient settings. Under the title ‘Fit for Frailty’, it is published in 2 parts. Part 1, launched today describes the recognition and management of individuals with frailty in community and outpatient settings. Part 2 to be launched later in the summer, will describe the development, management and commissioning of services for people with frailty.

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The F word

Dr Gill Turner is Vice President – Clinical Quality for the BGS and project lead for Fit for Frailty –  guidance published today on the recognition and management of older patients with frailty in community and outpatient settings. 

Frailty, or the ‘F’ word, must score as the most talked about condition over this last year. It is hard to go to any scientific meeting, participate in any discussion about health service development or even read a newspaper without encountering the  ‘ F ‘ word.

shutterstock_136111625

But what does it mean?  It is likely that frailty means different things to each audience ranging from a scientific phenotype with specific outcomes in the Framingham heart study to a social description of someone in the last months of their life.

However, the real meaning of frailty for the NHS and social care is the possibility of identifying a group of older people, for whom services need to be specifically focused to improve quality and safety. The expectation is that through increasing effectiveness in proactive care, increasing efficiency and value for money will follow.

The British Geriatrics Society which represents more than 2700 UK specialists in health care for older people (doctors, nurses and allied health professionals) has produced  Best Practice Guidance for Frailty in community and outpatient settings. Under the title ‘Fit for Frailty’, it is published in 2 parts. Part 1, launched today describes the recognition and management of individuals with frailty in community and outpatient settings. Part 2 to be launched later in the summer, will describe the development, management and commissioning of services for people with frailty.

Continue reading

Voice of the Elderly: Geriatrics in Uganda

Kamusiime Zadok is a social gerontologist and founder of Voice of the Elderly, a community based organization aiming to support older people in the Kabale district of Uganda. He is an expert in health and social policy for older people in Uganda, and the effects of ageism on the welfare of the elderly.shutterstock_129328802

As with any country, there are many older people in Uganda who are still active, healthy and independent. However, those who are frail, or in poor health, lack the social support structures available in the UK and are entirely dependent upon their families for support. This is coupled with limited treatment options for even simple conditions such as cataracts, an almost complete absence of monitoring for chronic conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, and a lack of expertise in geriatric medicine the country.

Voices of the Elderly is a Ugandan Non-Governmental Organisation which aims to improve the state of the elderly in Kabale, South-West Uganda. Continue reading

The silent revolution – Is the biggest change to NHS services happening ‘under the radar’?

Melissa Way, NHS Change Day Regional Lead for South East & West of EnglandNHSchangeDay

The NHS is certainly no stranger to change. The current re-organisation, famously described by the NHS Chief Executive as ‘so big, you can see it from space’, has followed a similar pattern to those that have gone before – largely top-down and centrally-imposed.

However, there’s another change movement at work in the NHS today. And this one has its roots firmly in the frontline.

NHS Change Day started in 2012 as a “conversation” between emerging leaders from different parts of the NHS. Continue reading