A generation of Doctors unable to look after their patients?

Dr Anthony James is a Consultant Physician at Princess of Wales Hospital. 

There have been many changes in recent years. The patients are older with more frailty, multiple comorbidities and a mixture of social and medical issues. These patients are often described as ‘complex’, making them sound as if they are something special. The reality is that they are now the norm and everybody should be able to deal with the norm. These problems are recognised by Royal College of Physicians in Hospitals on the Edge? The time for action (2012);

‘All hospital inpatients deserve to receive safe, high-quality, sustainable care centered around their needs and delivered in an appropriate setting by respectful, compassionate, expert health professionals. Yet it is increasingly clear that our hospitals are struggling to cope with the challenge of an ageing population and increasing hospital admissions.’ Continue reading

‘We don’t need no education…’ Teaching about delirium in medical schools

Dr Claire Copeland is a Consultant Physician in Care of the Elderly and Stroke Medicine at Forth Valley Royal Hospital. Her paper Development of an international undergraduate curriculum for delirium using a modified Delphi process has recently been published in Age and Ageing. She tweets at @Sparklystar55

Back in 2015 a workshop at the European Delirium Association (EDA) conference was held to bring together a group of delirium experts. Its purpose? To develop a consensus agreement on a delirium curriculum for medical undergraduates.

Most of you reading this I’m sure will be familiar with delirium. It’s technically been around for centuries. However there are many working in healthcare who still do not know about it. Or if they do, they refer to it by every other name except delirium. Continue reading

Catch a falling star

Dr Kawa Amin is a consultant Geriatrician, Consultant Lead for the Falls Service and Geriatrics Departmental Lead for Safety & Quality at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT). He also represents the BGS on the advisory group for the National Audit of Inpatient Falls (NAIF). Deborah Watkins is a Physiotherapist and the Falls Lead at BHRUT.

Falls are a major cause of disability and mortality for older people in the UK and the problem is likely to increase with an ageing population.  The associated mortality and morbidity from a fall is high with individual consequences ranging from distress, pain, physical injury and loss of confidence to complete loss of independence which impacts on relatives and caregivers.  Usually nurses are the first discipline to attend to a patient following a fall.   Continue reading

‘Geriatrics for Juniors’ is 5! Where, when and what next for AEME?

Dr Nick Saxton is an ST5 in Geriatric Medicine living and working in the North East of England. He attended the first ‘Geriatrics for Juniors’ conference as a core medical trainee in 2013. He began specialty training in 2015 and joined the Association for Elderly Medicine Education as treasurer in 2016. He tweets @saxton1986

Who are the AEME and what is G4J?

The Association for Elderly Medicine Education (AEME) is an organisation set up by trainee geriatricians in 2012, to provide educational tools and experiences in elderly medicine. The aim was also to attract more trainees into the specialty. You can follow us on Twitter and on Instagram @elderlymeded. AEME’s flagship event is our annual conference, ‘Geriatrics for Juniors’ (G4J), which is now in its fifth year. It’s a one-day conference aimed at foundation doctors, core medical and GP trainees and also specialist nurse practitioners who work with older patients. This year it is being held on 4th November 2017 at the Hilton Hotel Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne. Continue reading

MDTea Club and Podcast – Join the conversation

MDTea is by Dr Joanna Preston @GerisJo and Dr Iain Wilkinson @geriatricsdoc, consultant Geriatricians at St. George’s Hospital, London and Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust respectively.

MDTea offers free education on ageing for the whole MDT. We produce fortnightly podcasts on common topics encountered in clinical practice, critically looking at what evidence bases exist and which do not and applying practical solutions. The aim is to upskill a diverse workforce by discussing each topic from multi-disciplinary view points, not just one profession. We work and learn in teams in real life to solve problems so we aim to translate this to a shared format.

We have released 30 episodes over the last 18 months with funding for 20 more at the moment. Our 4th series started recently with an episode on Theories of Ageing. Others include mouth care, pain, delirium, falls prevention and management, interventions in early dementia, identity and nutrition, to name a few. Our most recent episode was on Sex and older adults – a largely neglected topic. Continue reading

Learning about clinical leadership: Our experience as Chief Registrars

Emily Bowen, Judy Martin and Marissa Minns are registrars in Geriatric Medicine. They were also in the first cohort of the Royal College of Physicians Chief Registrar programme.

“‘I don’t know where to start” a colleague confessed. “I’ve only been a consultant for 6 months, and now they want me to set up a new service…”’

It turns out that being a consultant is as much about leadership and management as it about the clinical work: leading a service or setting up a new one, writing a business case, managing colleagues and much more besides. Yet for the majority of us, the closest we come to leadership training as a registrar is a few days spent on a course. Continue reading

The struggle for age-proof medical care in the Netherlands

Wilco Achterberg (1963) is an elderly care physician and a Professor of institutional care and elderly care medicine in Leiden, the Netherlands. His research focus is on the most vulnerable elderly, most of whom live in nursing homes, and is centered around two themes: pain in dementia and geriatric rehabilitation. He tweets @wilcoachterberg

The Netherlands have been very fortunate to have had a very good insurance system for long term care, which provided good funding for nursing home care. That is why in a typical Dutch Nursing home you can find, next to nurses, therapists like physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, dieticians and even physicians. In 1989, a 2 year post graduate medical training program started, and ‘nursing home physician’ became an officially recognised medical specialism.  The biggest challenge for Ageing Holland is not how to provide good care for older persons, but how to pay for that care. Therefore, for several years now government is trying to find other ways of caring for vulnerable and care dependent persons. Continue reading

Autumn Speakers Series: What is geriatric rehabilitation? Towards a unifying concept

Romke van Balen is an Elderly Care Physician in Rotterdam and Senior Researcher in Leiden. His main field of interest is geriatric rehabilitation. He will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Autumn Meeting in London.

Although geriatric rehabilitation in most countries is considered to belong to the core tasks of geriatricians, there is no consensus about definition and target groups of patients.

Decades ago, the Boston Working Group defined geriatric rehabilitation as a multidisciplinary set of evaluative, diagnostic and therapeutic interventions whose purpose it is to restore functional ability or enhance residual functional capacity in elderly people with disabling impairments. When looking at this definition, one wonders if it separates geriatric rehabilitation from the general aim of geriatric medicine. Only palliative care clearly has another aim. Continue reading

Can Geriatric Medicine be learnt through reading ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’?

Dr Amy Heskett is a Speciality Doctor working in a Community Geriatrics team within West Kent called the Home Treatment Service. This team works alongside paramedics, GPs and district nurses to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions for people with frailty, multiple comorbidities, caring responsibilities or as part of end of life care.  The home visits use bedside testing and a multi-disciplinary approach to provide management of many acute medical presentations in a home-setting.  The development of these holistic plans requires a creative approach and the experiences often generate tweets @mrsapea and blogs at communitydoctoramy.wordpress.com

I read Roald Dahl’s ‘George’s Marvelous Medicine’ to my children today and my son said, “You really love the Grandma in this don’t you Mum?”

It’s true!  It was one of my favourite books during my own childhood and I now spend a large amount of time perfecting the Grandma’s voice for my children and absorbing the story with them as they snuggle on the sofa.  There is personal meaning to some of the pictures too and so a picture of George stirring the giant saucepan is hung on our kitchen wall.  The text describes ‘A rich blue smoke, the colour of peacocks’, at which point we cheer because Peacock is our family name. Continue reading

Attitudes and opportunities: Medical students’ and doctors’ attitudes towards older patients

Dr Rajvinder Samra is a Chartered Psychologist working as a Lecturer in Health and Social Care at The Open University. She enjoys researching the influence of attitudes and personality in medical settings and tweets at @RajvinderSamra Read her Age and Ageing Paper.

Social psychologists have been interested in attitudes for about 90 years now. Debate rages on about how much of what we do can be predicted from our attitudes. No doubt, over the past year, you will have read newspaper articles about how much someone’s attitude to a prominent issue covered in the media predicted their likelihood to vote for Brexit or Trump. This is an example of the attitude-behaviour link and the media trying to establish patterns so we can understand society better. The influence of attitudes on healthcare are frequently overlooked, but doctors’ or patients’ cognitive reasoning, preferences, values and emotions (i.e. all the things that come together to make up attitudes) can have a significant and meaningful impact on how services can, or should be, delivered. Continue reading