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

BGS Rising Star Awards: Ruth Law and Thomas Jackson

The BGS Annual Rising Star Award recognises young doctors, nurses and AHPs who have made exceptional contributions to the field of older people’s health care, early in their career. Two awards are available each year; one for research contributions that have translated into, or are in the process of being translated into, improvements to the care of older people, and the other, for a clinical quality project which improves the care of older people with frailty in the award holder’s locality.

In 2017, the award for quality went to Dr Ruth Law, Consultant in Integrated Geriatric Medicine, Whittington Health, for her work with the Integrated Community Ageing Team (ICAT) in Islington and to Dr Thomas Jackson for the work he has been doing in research.

Ruth trained mainly in and around London. She says that her training included a formative year as part of the stroke team at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosciences where she had the privilege of working alongside world-class researchers as they developed a new service. Continue reading

The British Geriatrics Society calls for urgent action on hunger and malnutrition among older people

The British Geriatrics Society welcomes the recently published report by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hunger. The report highlights that malnutrition is most likely to arise among older people following an accumulation of setbacks – for example bereavement, illness, a loss of community transport services, and a nearby shop closing,  – which leave them unable to access food easily.

Geriatric medicine has always recognised the importance of nutrition and sufficient intake of food and fluid in patient care. We hope that as a matter of urgency Government will seek to address the recommendations from the APPG so that malnutrition in older people, and those at risk of malnutrition, is identified and treated as quickly as possible. Continue reading

Specialist Care Frailty Network – we need your help!

Dr Simon Conroy is a geriatrician at University Hospitals of Leicester, Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Leicester and an Associate Editor for Age and Ageing journal. 

Dear fellow BGS members,

Some of you might have heard about the Acute Frailty Network, which has been in existence for a few years now. The focus of the Acute Frailty Network has been acute medical care and to some extent emergency care. The Specialist Care Frailty Network will focus upon the care of older people with frailty in six specialist services:

  • Renal Dialysis
  • Chemotherapy
  • Emergency Cranial Neurosurgery
  • Interventional Cardiology
  • Complex Spinal Surgery
  • Adult Critical Care

Continue reading

Number of older people with four or more diseases will double by 2035, say researchers

A study published recently in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, reports that the number of older people diagnosed with four or more diseases will double between 2015 and 2035. A third of these people will be diagnosed with dementia, depression or a cognitive impairment.

The study, conducted by researchers at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, found that over the next 20 years there will be a massive expansion in the number of people suffering from multiple diseases, known as multi-morbidity. As a result two-thirds of the life expectancy gains, predicted as 3.6 years for men, 2.9 years for women, will be spent with four or more diseases. Continue reading

1Ib beefsteak, with 1 pt bitter beer every six hours…

Pandora Wright is a Consultant in Elderly Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust. 

 “1Ib beefsteak, with 1 pt bitter beer every six hours. 1 ten-mile walk every morning. 1 bed at 11 sharp every night. And don’t stuff your head with things you don’t understand.”  (Jerome K Jerome. Three men in a boat)

With no NICE or SIGN guideline on the management of anaemia and iron deficiency in older people, we determine our own management plans and pathways.

Anaemia is common in older people, accounting for  10% of over 65’s, rising to up to 30% of over 85 year olds. Its presence in this age group is associated with frailty, falls and significantly impacts on survival, quality of life and hospital admission and readmission rates. Continue reading

The Budget was a missed opportunity to help frail older patients stranded in hospital

The President of the British Geriatrics Society commented that the budget ‘failed to address the critical issue of delayed transfers of care for older people by increasing funding for social care’ at the Society’s national conference.

At the BGS national conference on Wednesday (22 November), Dr Eileen Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society, called for the Chancellor to provide interim funding for social care to help medically fit older patients stranded in hospital wards return to their homes.

Dr Burns commended the government on its additional 10 billion pound capital investment in the NHS and the recent announcement that a Green Paper identifying long term solutions to the social care crisis will be published in the summer of 2018. Despite these measures healthcare professionals remain concerned that the ongoing limitations on social care funding will continue to put intense pressure on the NHS. Continue reading

The Second BGS Cultural Revolution- and the Living Well SIG

Sir Muir Gray has worked for the National Health Service in England since 1972, occupying a variety of senior positions during that time. He is an internationally renowned authority on healthcare systems and has advised governments of several countries outside the UK including Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Spain and Germany. He tweets @muirgray

The British Geriatrics Society can be proud of the culture change it has achieved by providing leadership in the last seventy years.  When the BGS was founded the prevailing beliefs of not only the public but also the medical profession, were that the problems of older people were due to the ageing process and not due to treatable disease – older people therefore needed “care” rather than accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and rehabilitation. The BGS and individual consultants should be proud of their achievements. There has been a revolution in the care of older people with disease. 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

Age and Ageing papers featured in the OUP Public Health collection

The latest journal Impact Factor results were announced in July and we were delighted to see Age and Ageing continue to grow in impact with a higher score of 4.282.

Our thanks go out to our valued authors who contribute such strong work, and to our army of peer reviews who are essential to the high standard of published material. We are also grateful to all of our readers who share, cite and make use of this work and disseminate research for the improvement of the health and care of older people.

To celebrate improving Impact Factor scores across several of its journals, Oxford University Press has released a collection of the highest cited papers on the theme of Public Health. Continue reading