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.

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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.

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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

Do attitudes toward older patients even matter?

Rajvinder Samra is a Lecturer in Health and Social Care at The Open University. She is interested in healthcare professionals’ attitudes towards older patients. If you’re interested in this topic at all, get in touch with her at Rajvinder.samra@open.ac.uk

doctorDoes it matter if doctors like older patients? Is there any point in working out if doctors have positive or negative attitudes towards older patients? Surely it’s irrelevant because doctors are professionals that can separate their personal and professional feelings. Maybe they can, but that’s not the point as to why these questions are important.

The US has a long history of looking at medical students’ and doctors’ attitudes towards older patients and seeing if this is related to their likelihood of working in specialties like geriatrics. It seems like you are more likely to consider geriatrics if you have more positive attitudes towards older patients than people with more negative attitudes. Well, that seems obvious, doesn’t it? Continue reading

The chasm of dementia; a carer’s perspective

Sue Newsome supported her Father during the last year of his life after he was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. In this blog she shares her thoughts and feelings from a carer’s perspective.  

bench-forest-trees-pathSupporting someone with Dementia is a contradiction of what it is ok to feel and the guilt about those feelings. A whole raft of thoughts, feelings and behaviours that I continually checked and reviewed. My relationship with Dad changed, he had never said he was scared before and I was to hear this from him throughout his Dementia journey.

Initially in his phone call to me telling me ‘Sue I am scared I am having a Stroke’ which although slurred was articulate, to the same feeling the night before he died when despite his end stage Dementia and aspiration pneumonia, when he struggled to breathe, he managed to say ‘I’m scared’. His fear and mine punctuated our relationship for the last year of his life. Our fear of the future what it held and how we could adapt. It felt like I held my breath for a year. Living on adrenaline, the skipped heartbeat when the phone rang, what had happened to Dad this time! Continue reading

International Day of Older Persons 2016

David Oliver is the current President of the BGS, clinical vice-president of the Royal College of Physicians, and a consultant in geriatrics and acute general medicine at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. He tweets @mancunianmedic

older-e1467720187191I am delighted that October 1st sees the International Day of Older Persons and looking forward to all the activity that should go with it – in local communities, in public services and charities and in mainstream and social media. I also welcome the themes this year – highlighting and tackling ageism and celebrating older people. Continue reading

Underfunded. Underdoctored. Overstretched.

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 RCP report ‘Underfunded. Underdoctored. Overstretched. The NHS in 2016‘. She tweets @geri_baby

underfunded-underdoctored_0The Royal College of Physicians have published a report Underfunded. Underdoctored. Overstretched. The NHS in 2016. It clearly lays out that honest debate is needed, and choices are going to have to be made – increases in funding or cuts in care. It states that a new plan is needed, not yet another  quick fix or temporary solution, rather one that is designed to meet the UK’s health and care needs in the long term, and that values, supports and motivates NHS staff. Continue reading

Esther Clift’s African Blog Series; Part 1 ‘Superstition’

Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty with Health Education Wessex. This is the first part of a four part BGS blog series about her time in Africa. She tweets @EstherClift

Evidence of superstition is everywhere in Nairobi. The lampposts are plastered with posters of a certain ‘Doctor’ offering help with relationships, ‘manliness’, and money issues. On payment of a significant sum- starting at about £30, and upwards, various incantations, and ‘luck’ potions are generated and taken. The internet is full of stories of how people’s situations have changed immediately after taking their potions, or using incantations, such as ‘I was immediately able to clinch the deal which had been hanging around for months’, and so on. Continue reading