Cause of death? Dementia…

Professor Emma Reynish is a consultant physician in Geriatric Medicine at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and Professor of Dementia Research, at the University of Stirling where she leads the dementia and social gerontology research group.

dementiaIn England and Wales more people now die of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease than anything else. A similar picture is most likely to exist for the other devolved nations of the UK. For healthcare professionals who are involved in the management of people with dementia, this news offers the opportunity for reflection and action. What does this mean for us and our approach to the older population? Continue reading

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

Delivering high quality care for older people – are you sure you do?

Dr Christine McAlpine is a geriatrician and stroke physician in Glasgow, Chair of the British Geriatrics Society Scotland Council and the geriatric medicine speciality adviser to the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland. She chaired the multiprofessional group which produced the Healthcare Improvement Scotland Standards for the care of older people in hospital, published in 2015. She tweets at @CHRISTINE030214

bgs-principles-and-standards-page-001Health care for older people is core business for the NHS. Getting health care right for older people helps ensure we get it right for everyone.  Today the BGS publishes ‘Effective healthcare for older people; Principles and Standards‘, with a particular focus on those living with frailty.

The Principles and Standards are for the health care of older people in any setting –  not only for geriatric medicine wards, but for all of the health care departments older people may encounter – Emergency Medicine, ophthalmology, gynaecology etc – across the spectrum of care.

The concise 4-page paper includes core standards for care delivery and reminds us of the principles enshrined in human rights and equalities legislation. It outlines principles of health care for older people including effective, accessible and timely care; autonomy, choice and person centred care; and ensuring safety and dignity. Continue reading

Every older person in a care home needs access to high quality healthcare

chg-v2The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) calls for everyone who commissions or provides healthcare in care homes to follow the principles of good practice set out in the guidance we are publishing today, so that every older person who lives in a care home in the UK has access to high quality healthcare which fully meets their needs. Based on the clinical expertise of our members our updated guidance sets out clinical and service priorities for how best practice can be achieved, and provides clear indicators of what successful delivery looks like for older people, their families and carers.

In the UK 405,000 people over the age of 65 years old currently live in care homes. This represents 16% of older people over the age of 85. Their healthcare needs are complex and the average care home resident has multiple long-term conditions, and frailty. They are likely to have better health outcomes if health services reflect these needs, and they have access to comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessment, with input from healthcare specialists trained in the care of complex medical problems in later life. Continue reading

Multi-morbidity – the case for change

David Paynton is a GP in an inner city surgery. He is also the Clinical Lead for Commissioning for the RCGP.

Dr David Paynton

Generalists are the solution.

For too long policy makers have ignored what clinicians on the front line have been telling them, people with multiple conditions not only exist but are the mainstream.

It is our failure to recognise this fact that has put pressure in the system as the NHS struggles to keep its head above water especially when one adds social factors, depression and mental health into the mix of complexity.

The RCGP “responding to the needs of patient with multi-morbidity” has created a powerful case for change with the need to substitute ever-increasing investment into super specialism by a call for the generalist to support those with multi-morbidity in the community. Continue reading

Planning for our new BGS website… Have your say!

survey-2Calling all BGS Members and friends! We are inviting you to complete this survey to help us find out more about what our members, and other visitors, are looking for from the new BGS website which will replace the current main BGS site.

This survey should take no longer than 5 – 10 minutes to complete, depending in the length of your answers. This survey also provides the opportunity to join the Website Consultation Group and/or volunteer to review and update existing materials from the current site. Continue reading

Incoming President of the BGS calls for respect for ‘victims of underfunding’

eileenDr Eileen Burns, who takes office today as the new President of the British Geriatrics Society, has called for public recognition that older people facing delays in discharge from hospital are the victims of underfunding of social care and not ‘the problem’. Dr Burns is urging members of the public, and media, to reject pejorative terms like ‘bed blockers’ and urge the Government to give social care the priority it deserves.

Dr Burns is only the second female President since the Society was founded in 1947. She has been a consultant geriatrician in Leeds for twenty-two years, and is an expert in community geriatrics. The primary focus of community geriatrics is to reduce admissions to hospital, and prevent delayed discharges and re-admissions, by ensuring that older patients receive adequate and appropriate care within their community.

Accessible social care is a key factor in reducing hospital admissions and delayed discharges for older people. According to research published earlier this month by Age UK, the number of older people in England who don’t get the social care they need has soared to a new high of 1.2 million – up by a staggering 48% since 2010. Continue reading

BGS raising the profile of Sarcopenia and Frailty in older people

1025_atrophySarcopenia, the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function that accompanies ageing, has emerged as a key topic in geriatric medicine and represents a rapidly expanding field of research. Prevalence may be as high as 1 in 3 for frail older people living in care homes. There is increasing appreciation of sarcopenia’s importance for an ageing population and a growing understanding of its causes. The condition is closely linked to physical frailty and detection of sarcopenia is beginning to be incorporated into clinical practice, and to undergo large clinical trials.

To better represent this area the British Geriatrics Society has announced the formation of a new Special Interest Group (SIG) focusing on sarcopenia and frailty research.

In addition, to help raise the profile and aid the recognition of sarcopenia, a dedicated session covering diagnosis and treatment of the disease is being held at the BGS Autumn Meeting in Glasgow. Continue reading

Kate Granger 1981-2016

Hello my name is Ali Cracknell. I have never written a blog before, but if there is one person who would say to me, “just to do it Ali, try new things”, it would be my friend and colleague Kate.

Kate Granger

Kate Granger receiving the BGS President’s Medal, accompanied by husband Chris Pointon

Kate Granger sadly died on Saturday 23rd July 2016 from a rare sarcoma.

I first met Kate, when she was an FY2 and I was a fresh faced elderly care registrar at Leeds General Infirmary. I remember in those days her values were strong, she provided first class care at every encounter, communication was a real strength and she loved to teach all members of the team. We shared a passion for patient safety and improvement. This was the old style “firm”, where I’m sure she started to steer her career towards geriatrics. We were guided by our wise and experienced consultant Peter Belfield, who became a friend to us both too. Kate and I learnt a lot together during that “firm”, gaining confidence in testing out new improvement methods and ideas, and a friendship based around our professional values developed. Continue reading

BGS Rising Star Awards – Now Open For Applications!

Each year The British Geriatrics Society bestows two Rising Star Awards, one for
research contributions that have translated into, or are in the process of being translated into, improvements to care of older people. The second is for clinical quality or work project that demonstrates that the nominee has improved the care of older people with frailty in their locality.  Applications are now open and full details are at the end of this blog. Below two past Rising Star Award Winners discuss their careers, and how winning the award has benefitted them.

Daniel Davis, Rising Star Award Winner 2015

IMG_1899_Daniel Best One“I joined the BGS as a medical student and ever since, the Society has played a part in my professional development. From a medical student elective grant to go to Johns Hopkins, through to two Specialist Registrar Travel Grants (I was an Specialist Registrar for 9 years….) to gain skills in epidemiology (with Ken Rockwood in Halifax, Nova Scotia) and biostatistics (with Carole Dufouil at INSERM, Paris), each time, assistance from the BGS has led to career-changing opportunities. Continue reading