Some things in life are free!

Cliff Kilgore is a Consultant Nurse for Intermediate Care and Older People within Dorset Healthcare NHS Trust and he is also a Visiting Fellow to Bournemouth University. He is Chair of the BGS Nurses and Allied Healthcare Professionals Council. He also is a member of the BGS Clinical Quality Steering Group. He tweets @kilgore_cliff

Many of our readers will know that the BGS has been at the forefront of promoting older people’s healthcare and wellbeing for many years. In fact, we celebrated 70 years of this in March. Leading the way for older people has enabled the BGS to have great influence on many aspects of policy and guidance including Fit for Frailty, The Silver Book, Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA), as well as ever increasing influence on training and development of all clinicians. The BGS has long recognised the importance of developing trainees and to support this has offered many benefits to its members including free membership for medical students and foundation doctors, study grants and sponsorship and support of research projects. Continue reading

Dementia awareness is not just for one week – it’s for life

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 published widely on dementia, and his first book ‘Living well with dementia’ won best book for health and social care for the BMJ Awards in 2015. His third book ‘Enhancing health and wellbeing in dementia: a person-centred integrated care approach’ was published earlier this year on aspects of the integrated care pathway, and likewise has been critically acclaimed. He, furthermore, has a passionate interest in rights-based approaches which he accrued as part of his postgraduate legal training. He tweets at @dr_shibley.

This week – in England –  it’s ‘Dementia Awareness Week’ – 14-20 May 2017. But so what?

The problem is – ‘dementia awareness’ means different things to different people. In a nutshell, I hope that the workforce can embrace the notion that people living with dementia are incredibly rewarding to support and look after, and use this week as part of a celebration of this.

If you’re working in health and social care, it can be surprisingly easy to overestimate the knowledge about dementia amongst some members of the general public. Continue reading

Kindness: The essential skill in supporting a dignified death

Sue Newsome supported her Father during the last year of his life. In this blog she shares her thoughts and feelings from a carer’s perspective.  

My Dad had suffered for a year after his stroke, his gradual deterioration was devastating for him. As his physical and cognitive ability deteriorated he became more frustrated at his dwindling independence. Dad told me he wanted to die many times in different ways throughout the last year of his life. He told me he just wanted “to lay down and die” and that he felt like he was ‘drowning’, as an illustration of his depression. Numerous times he told me he wanted to be with my Mum, who had died 15 years ago. Ironically, whilst I loved and cared for Dad and never wanted to lose him, at times I wanted him to get his wish and die. Continue reading

“Constant bleeps, all of the time…”: Time to debunk the med reg ‘superhero’ myth?

James Fisher is a consultant geriatrician at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. He tweets at @drjimbofish and in this blog article discusses a recent publication looking at the role of the medical registrar from the perspective of junior doctors interested in geriatric medicine.

Being the medical registrar, or ‘med reg’, is recognised as being a tough job. The med reg is often considered to be the ‘go to’ person for the hospital at night – to shamelessly rip off a well-known 1980s TV show, “If you have a problem… if no one else can help… and if you can find them… maybe you should bleep… the med reg”.

The medical registrar is the senior training grade in medical training; effectively it’s the last stop on the road to becoming a consultant physician. Continue reading

Back to the Future? Please, no more studies “in the elderly”!

Shane O’Hanlon is a geriatrician and digital media editor for the British Geriatrics Society. He tweets @drohanlon Zoe Wyrko is a geriatrician and workforce lead for the British Geriatrics Society. She tweets @geri_baby

Sometime back in the 80s, when we were both nippers, Marty McFly got the chance to travel 30 years into the future and see how the world would change. Around this time in the medical literature it became common to take an interesting concept and tag “in the elderly” onto the end of it. Back then, we had articles on burns, epilepsy, even blunt chest trauma “in the elderly”. It was generally accepted that once you hit 65, *everything* changed. Suddenly you would be most unlikely to have surgery, palliation became the default, and you were fairly much on your way out. Because, after all, while nobody would ever dream of grouping neonates up to 40 year olds (the age we have just reached) into one group, surely it is acceptable to assume everyone from 65-105 is identical? Continue reading

Sit up, Get Dressed, Keep Moving: Deconditioning Syndrome Awareness and Prevention Campaign: why is everyone talking about it?

Dr Amit Arora is a consultant geriatrician at the University Hospital of North Midlands and has served as Chairman of England Council of the British Geriatrics Society. He and his team have developed the campaign “Sit up, Get Dressed, Keep Moving” which is being adopted in many NHS hospitals and abroad.

In David Mitchell’s recent article “‘Get Out of Bed!’ scheme is more symptom than solution for the NHSwhich was published on the Guardian website he appreciates the simplicity and value of the campaign but questions whether the campaign is financially motivated.

I congratulate and thank Mitchell for raising awareness about benefits of early functional normalisation: “The Principle that people who have been hospitalized should re-start normal life as soon as they can is already well established”. He further writes that “it’s suspicious that a campaign exclusively pushing the idea of getting up and going home should coincide so precisely with the NHS’s dire shortage of money.”  I would like to detail how the campaign started and how it is free from any ‘spin’. Continue reading

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