BGS Deputy Honorary Secretary role – should I apply?

Dr Shane O’Hanlon is a consultant in geriatric medicine. He was Deputy Honorary Secretary from 2015-16 and is the current Honorary Secretary of the British Geriatrics Society.

If you’re thinking “That’s not for me” then allow me to persuade you otherwise! We are all extremely busy in our clinical roles and loath to take on anything extra. But some opportunities offer more in return for the time you invest, and this is one.

Ok, why should I even think about applying?

We need you! The BGS counts on its members to help shape the future of the society; across the four nations hundreds of people help out every year in varying ways. One of the nice things about this role is that you get to know who does what all across the UK, and you support the Hon Sec (who is the lynchpin) in helping to make sure that the work flows to and from the right people. This often involves inviting people to respond on behalf of the BGS to policy consultations from bodies such as NICE, the GMC and the Royal Colleges. Continue reading

Who knows what the next 70 years will bring?

Liz Charalambous is a nurse and PhD student. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS.

This year heralds the 70th anniversary of the British Geriatrics Society. Founded in 1947, the society sought to alleviate suffering and improve standards in the care of older people.

It seems almost impossible to imagine the world back then: a clunky analogue era of post-war rationing, George VI, the dawn of comprehensive schools, and of course a Labour government planning the inception of our beloved NHS. The future social determinants of health were given a nod to by Beveridge’s post war ‘giants on the road to reconstruction’, namely poverty, disease, ignorance, squalor, and idleness, by the undertaking of a newly introduced welfare state. The grimness of post-war Britain held the promise of a brighter future for all, with government commitment to better access to social housing, employment, social security, education and health. Continue reading

Arise, Geriatricians of tomorrow! – A specialty rising to meet the challenges of the modern NHS

Dr Vicky Gibson is an ST5 Geriatric medicine/ General Internal Medicine trainee in North-East England. She is secretary of the Association for Elderly Medicine Education (AEME), whose recent paper “Why Geriatric Medicine – a survey of UK specialist trainees in Geriatric medicine has recently been published in Age and Ageing. She tweets at @gibsonvmvicky

The Association for Elderly Medicine Education (AEME) was founded in 2012, by a group of trainee geriatricians with the aim of improving elderly medicine education and promoting uptake into the specialty. You can follow them at @elderlymeded

I’m still inquisitive when I hear more junior trainees spontaneously say that they want to do Geriatrics.

“Well, you know. Previously Geriatricians were in the shadow of the other -ologies – now everyone wants a piece of them when things get complicated with their older patients. They’re like the knights in shining armour.” Continue reading

Better Transfers of Care for Older People – how to improve transitions of care

Dr Olivier Gaillemin trained in Geriatric Medicine and now works as a consultant physician in Acute Medicine at Salford Royal Foundation Trust. He has developed a Frailty Unit embedded within the Acute Medical Unit. He sat on the NICE guideline development group for NG27 – Transitions of care for adults with Health and Social Care needs – as well as on the committee for the associated NICE Quality Standard QS 136. He attended the King’s Fund conference as a speaker.

On the day of the launch of their report on STPs, the King’s Fund hosted an event on how to improve transitions of care for older people admitted and being discharged from hospital. In these times of very real stress to the systems in which we work, when too often we seem to fail those vulnerable people we are all invested and motivated in supporting, it is easy to become despondent. Continue reading

Happy 70th Birthday BGS!

Dr Eileen Burns has been a geriatrician in Leeds since 1992 and is President of the BGS. She is currently Clinical Lead for integration in Leeds and Chairman of the BGS Community Geriatrics Special Interest Group. She tweets @EileenBurns13

bgs_70thlogo_pinkThe year is the BGS’s 70th birthday, so I’d like to mark it by wishing all our members a Very Very Happy Birthday.

Our specialty grew from the work of an indomitable woman (the eponymous Marjory Warren (of MW House fame) who identified the potential for improvement in older people living in hospital wards of a workhouse like nature. She found conditions amenable to treatment or rehabilitation, and demonstrated that a large number of the inpatients (who were expected to live and die in that hospital ward) could be discharged from hospital after suitable attention. Continue reading

Inspiring carers – all too often overlooked

Alex Greenwood is a recent graduate who’s been exposed to the realities of domiciliary care through her work with Konnektis, a hub digitizing social care and communication, facilitating better care for those in their own homes. She tweets @konnektis 

alexHaving lost my grandparents at an early age, I had very limited understanding of the realities of care. Through my work with Konnektis, and the inherently person-centred process of co-design, I am gaining privileged access to the outstanding work of carers. A commonly misunderstood and under-appreciated profession, carers have  been absorbing the the pressures of our overstretched care system for years and the sector is now at breaking point. Whilst recent public concern over sustainability of care in the context of an aging population is an important debate, it is these inspiring carers – all too often overlooked – whose stories I wish to share in this space. Continue reading

Wrinkly hands or ‘cocaine ‘fro’? You decide…

Liz Charalambous is a qualified nurse on a female, acute medical HCOP (Health Care for Older People) ward at Queen’s Medical Centre, Nottingham University Hospital Trust. She is currently a PhD student at The University of Nottingham. She tweets at @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS. Her blogs are her own opinion and do not represent the opinion of her employer or any other organisation.

grandmaI came across a USA you tube clip the other week which challenged my thinking on HCOP care. The footage was of a young man who has teamed up with his grandma to make, what I would describe as ‘stereotype-busting videos’ of his visits to see grandma in ‘the ‘hood’. I initially thought it was controversial and mildly exploitative (after all he talks to his grandma about her ‘cocaine ‘fro hairdo). I had to watch them a few times to decide that actually, this challenges my perceptions of how we engage with older people. Watching grandma rolling meatballs to ‘roll out’ rap music and shimmying her shoulders following a successful bottle flip challenge, I was hooked. The couple do Q & A sessions, mannequin challenges and twerking dance offs, cover naughty topics, and cause general mayhem and shenanigans at a pet store, among other (more saucy) clips, and seem to have a great deal of fun together in the process.

Continue reading

Shane O’Hanlon’s Age & Ageing Christmas Review- Part 1

Shane O’Hanlon is the Digital Media Editor for the BGS. He tweets @drohanlon

shaneAge and Ageing begins 2017 with a swish new look, but first let’s look back at the most downloaded journal articles of 2016…

  1. Helen Jones and colleagues looked at the theory that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may affect the neurodegenerative process of dementia, enhancing cognition. To investigate this, they performed a systematic review of placebo-controlled RCTs. A small number of relatively low-powered studies showed no benefit or harm from SSRIs in terms of cognition, mood, agitation or ADLs in dementia. There was insufficient data to say whether SSRIs are beneficial for cognition, and there was some suggestion of increased side effects.

Continue reading

NHS – A giant Diogenes syndrome

Adhi (V Adhiyaman), geriatrician and Chair of Welsh council of the BGS. Tweets at @adhiyamanv

220px-giovanni_battista_langetti_-_diogenesDiogenes was a controversial Greek philosopher who lived in the fourth century BC. He was a cynic and rejected many conventional ideas and lived in a large clay jar in the city of Athens. He lived in a squalor and rejected ideas of normal human decency.

Diogenes syndrome is a disorder characterized by self-neglect, domestic squalor, apathy, compulsive hoarding of garbage and more importantly lack of shame. The syndrome does not refer to the intelligence or the philosophies of Diogenes but rather refers to the way Diogenes lived. A person with primary Diogenes syndrome is intelligent but aggressive, stubborn, suspicious, emotionally labile and has an unreal perception of life. 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