Spring Speakers Series: Clinical Psychologists in Memory Services

Reinhard Guss is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Clinical Neuropsychologist; Dementia Workstream Lead, Member of the Faculty of the Psychology of Older People, BPS and Deputy Chair, Memory Services National Accreditation Programme. He will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Spring Meeting in Nottingham.

Clinical Psychologists have been part of Memory Clinics as long as they have been in existence as a part of service provision in the UK, using neuropsychology skills in the diagnostic process and in the development of coping strategies and employing clinical and psychotherapeutic skills in assisting with adjustment to a dementia diagnosis and in the support of families and carers.  An overview of the Psychology position on dementia can be found in the recent paper to the British Psychological Society’s Dementia Advisory Group.

Historically, the diagnosis of dementia was often the domain of Neurologists and Psychiatrist, particularly when this affected younger people, while Geriatricians would have encountered dementia in older people, and may or may not have seen a need to diagnose it in socio-historic context where dementia was seen as untreatable and often a part of ageing that was to be expected. Continue reading

Spring Speakers Series: An overview of post stroke visual impairment

Claire Howard is a Stroke Specialist Research Orthoptist based at Salford Royal Hospital and is part of the VISION research unit at University of Liverpool. She holds an NIHR clinical fellowship and is currently researching the area of adaptation to post stroke visual field loss. Her main field of interest is rehabilitation of visual impairment following stroke. She will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Spring Meeting in Nottingham.

The size of the problem: the point prevalence of visual impairment in stroke survivors has been reported as 72% (Rowe, Hepworth, Hanna, & Howard, 2016). This visual impairment can be the result of a range of different problems either individually or in combination; these problems include visual field loss, eye movement disorders, reduced / blurred vision and visual perception defects.  In the post stroke period, a person may be experiencing a visual impairment that is of new onset, or their visual problems may pre-exist the stroke.  Continue reading

Spring Speakers Series: Developing an Intervention for Falls in Dementia

Louise Allan is a Geriatrician with a specialist interest in the Neurology and Psychiatry of Old Age. Her research interests include the non-Alzheimer’s dementias and the physical health of people with dementia. She will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Spring Meeting in Nottingham.

Between 47-90% of people with dementia (PWD) fall at least once a year (almost ten times more often than controls). After a fall, PWD are less likely to recover well, more likely to be hospitalised, are hospitalised for longer and are more likely to require increased care. We currently know little about the care received by these patients. There is evidence to suggest that staff may perceive PWD as less capable of rehabilitation and staff in community services providing follow-up care may not have specific training in the care of PWD. 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

Using population sub-segmentation to promote tailored end of life care in later life

Professor Martin Vernon is National Clinical Director for Older People and Person Centred Integrated Care at NHS England. He tweets @runnermandoc. Dr Dawn Moody is Associate National Clinical Director for Older People and Integrated Person-Centred Care for NHS England. She tweets @Moody_D_K. They will be speaking at the BGS Living and Dying Well with Frailty event today. Follow the conference via #bgsconf

Frailty is an especially problematic long term condition characterised by declining intrinsic capacity to deal with stressor events such as acute illness or physical accidents. When severe it significantly increases personal annual risk of reaching end of life. While occurring alongside human ageing, not everyone develops frailty and it is not solely confined to older people. NHS England estimates 20% of the population aged 90 and over remains fit and are therefore likely to be fortunate in ageing well. Conversely we estimate that up to 25% of people aged 65 to 69 are living with mild frailty in England which compared to their fit peer group places them at twice the annual risk of reaching end of life.  A further 5% of this age group is estimated to be living with moderate or severe frailty. Continue reading

“The Emperor’s New Clothes”

Professor Martin Green OBE has had an extensive career in NGO development, both in the UK and internationally, and is Chief Executive of Care England, the largest representative body for independent social care services in the UK. He will be speaking at Living and Dying Well with Frailty event on 6 March. Follow the conference on the day via #bgsconf

We have now got a Department of Health and Social Care, what a difference that is going to make (I said sarcastically). With increasing regularity, the Government seems to think that messing about with the headed paper is a route to change. How much evidence do they need that changing titles and rejigging the logos is not going to deliver the transformational change that is required in order to deliver the route map to integrated services. If we had spent one tenth of the money we have spent on new titles, new structures and new logos on culture change, we would be in a far better position than we find ourselves today and the integrated services that citizens are crying out for might be a more attainable goal. Continue reading

Spring Speakers Series: Are rules of thumb the answer?

Nathan Davies is a Senior Research Fellow at University College London focusing on care for people with dementia towards the end of life and supporting family carers. In this post he talks about his upcoming talk at the BGS Spring Meeting in Nottingham on his work developing rules of thumb for providing care towards the end of life for someone with dementia.

Can rules of thumb help manage uncertainty and the challenges facing practitioners caring for someone with dementia at the end of life?

We know that caring for someone towards the end of life can be a rewarding and intimate experience with that individual and those close to them. However, unfortunately for practitioners it can also be emotionally tough and challenging. This is particularly the case when caring for someone with dementia towards the end of life. Continue reading

Practical palliative care after stroke

Dr Ruth England is a Consultant in Palliative Medicine at Royal Derby Hospital. She tweets @DrRuthEngland. She will be speaking at the upcoming BGS event Living and Dying Well with Frailty on 6 March in London. Please note this event has now SOLD OUT.

Palliative care is an active, holistic approach to those facing life-threatening illness. Good palliative care allows us ‘to live as well as possible for as long as possible’; and includes support for those approaching the end of their life.

In the UK, someone suffers a stroke every 5 minutes. Although there has been a decline in stroke mortality, it remains a leading cause of death in those aged over 65.  There a high risk of dying immediately after an event, and 40% of those affected by stroke die within a year. Long term survivors are likely to be burdened with ongoing physical, psychological and social issues. Continue reading

How was your BGS Autumn Meeting 2017?

David Scott is a 78 year old retiree from Teacher Education with type 2 diabetes and heart failure. In retirement he has developed a strong interest in patient engagement issues. These are engaged with via the Alzheimer’s Society, NiHR (specialist group on Ageing) Age UK and the Stem Cell Bank. He attended the BGS Autumn Meeting 2017 as a patient representative. Register for the BGS Spring Meeting, 11 – 13 April at NCC in Nottingham.

How was your BGS Autumn Meeting 2017? I enjoyed meeting a lot of people with plenty of experience and don’t the Geriatricians look young these days!  Remember that I am 78 years plus. What about that location? Very intimidating on first arrival but once in your allocated space, superb facilities. Plenty of toilets, plenty of overall space, good catering – with alternative if you didn’t mind going a bit further. Found the steps down between levels quite hard but recognise the need to do your daily exercise!  One or two smaller rooms got a bit crowded for some presentations but, in general, presentations well supported. Continue reading

Geriatric Oncology: Why older patients need a special approach

Anthea Cree is a clinical oncologist currently undertaking an MD in advanced radiotherapy at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust. She co-founded a group within the hospital to work towards better outcomes and experience for older patients.

I recently did a clinic during which the average age of the patients was over eighty and the oldest nearer to one hundred. This is probably not unusual for the readers of this blog but I’m an oncologist, not a geriatrician.

I’ve been an oncology registrar for six years and even over this short period of time, it seems like encountering octogenarians in clinic has changed from unusual to routine. This is a positive step as a third of cancer patients are over 75 years old and in the past many did not get a chance to see a specialist as they were automatically deemed to be too old for treatment. Continue reading