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

Smoking linked to frailty in older adults

A recent paper published in Age & Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, finds that current smoking in older people increases the risk of developing frailty, though former smokers did not appear to be at higher risk.

Smoking increases the risk of developing a number of diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease, all of which can potentially have negative effects on people’s physical, psychological and social health.

Frailty is considered a precursor to, but a distinct state from, disability. Frailty is a condition associated with decreased physiological reserve and increased vulnerability to adverse health outcomes. The outcomes include falls, fractures, disability, hospitalisation and institutionalisation. Continue reading

Why the BGS Fringe?

Muna Al Jawad is a Consultant Geriatrician at Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton. Here she discusses the BGS Fringe which will be taking place at the BGS Autumn Meeting in London on 23 November. She tweets @OPWhisperer

The idea for the BGS Fringe comes from an emotion: Frustration, and a cause: Resistance. Frustration first. I realise this might be heresy (especially on a blog for the BGS) but the national conference really frustrates me. Geriatricians are the funniest, quirkiest and most humble of doctors. Lots of us chose geriatrics because we want to work with geriatricians. Of all the hospital specialists, we pride ourselves on being the most holistic, we see aim to see our patients as human beings, within their network of family and carers. “Aha!” the geriatrician will say on a ward round, “I know Mrs Jones, she loves Elvis and has a watch with a cat on it” (I actually said that last week).
Continue reading

Retirees leaving sociable workplaces may experience accelerated cognitive decline

A study published recently in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, provides new evidence that workers retiring from occupations which involve high levels of social stimulation may be at greater risk of accelerated cognitive decline in later life.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at University of Liège, in collaboration with the Universities of Bordeaux and South Florida, surveyed 1,048 individuals over the age of 65 from Bordeaux. Participants were evaluated at 2 year intervals for a period of 12 years. Psychologists’ evaluations included detailed assessments of subjects’ mental cognition, general health and information about their former occupation. Three independents raters were asked to evaluate the level of social and intellectual stimulation for each occupation. Continue reading

Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds

Dr Zoe Wyrko is a Consultant physician at University Hospital Birmingham and is the Director of Workforce for the BGS. In this blog she discusses the recent Channel 4 programme in which she appeared, Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds. She tweets @geri_baby

I’ve always had a soft spot for care homes. As a child I would occasionally go into work with my Mum and meet some of the old ladies she talked about. When I was older I started work in the same nursing home as a kitchen girl on Saturdays, and then later progressed to health care assistant. I remain proud of my training record from that time, showing I am competent to deliver personal care, clean dentures and cut nails.

This is why I was excited when an approach came from CPL productions, who were looking for geriatricians to be involved with a television programme they wanted to make about introducing children to a care home environment. Continue reading

You may not pull up at the Club with the FT under your arm…

Owen David is a Consultant Physician with an interest in Stroke and Elderly Care at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust. He is the current Deputy Honorary Treasurer of the BGS. 

You might not dress to the nines, you may not pull up at the Club with the FT under your arm, and you may not be married to an accountant, but if you can question, use a basic calculator, get to London a few times a year and like getting involved, then being Deputy Honorary Treasurer to the British Geriatrics Society might be for you.

We are here to advise and help you in this and you will be helping the Society meet its obligations as a registered charity. There is a detailed brief on the role that makes clear the need for accountability and good lines of communication, as you would expect. Continue reading

Framing the narrative of frailty differently will help to promote wellbeing

Dr Shibley Rahman is currently an academic physician in dementia and frailty. His contribution on the diagnosis of behavioural frontal frontotemporal dementia, published while he was a M.B./Ph.D. student at Cambridge in 1999, is considered widely to be an important contribution to the field even cited in the Oxford Textbook of Medicine. He has a passionate interest in rights-based approaches which he accrued as part of his postgraduate legal training. He tweets at @dr_shibley.

It’s great that frailty as a ‘brand’ is getting so much publicity, but is it all the right kind of publicity? For example, “Our treatment of the frail elderly is a national scandal”, Sunday Express, 8 March 2011. (cited in Manthorpe and Iliffe, 2015)

But some of the copy has been to generate a “moral panic”, defined as a feeling of fear spread among a large number of people that some evil threatens the well-being of society. Continue reading