Are we really representing the BGS? Experiences from the Programme Board and a call for your contributions

Shelagh O’Riordan is a Consultant Community Geriatrician and Clinical Director for Frailty Services with Kent Community NHS Trust and tweets @jupiterhouse1 Asan Akpan is a consultant Geriatrician at Aintree University Hospital NHS FT and tweets @asanakpan

In September 2017, the BGS put a call out to its members for Geriatricians with an interest in care homes and Community Geriatrics to represent the BGS at the newly established Hospital to Home Programme Board, an NHS England oversight group and part of the Urgent and Emergency Care (UEC) Transformation Delivery  Programme.

Shelagh had just come to the end of a role at the Royal College of Physicians and, after 14 years, swapped her hospital role for a community one. Asan moved to a different hospital over 4 years ago to do mostly community geriatric medicine and has contributed to developing the service described on page 26 of the joint report on integrated care for frail older people by the BGS and RCGP. Continue reading

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How should healthcare services to care homes be configured – results from the Optimal Study

Adam Gordon is Clinical Associate Professor in Medicine of Older People at the University of Nottingham. He tweets @adamgordon1978 Claire Goodman is Professor of Health Care Research at the University of Hertfordshire.  She tweets @HDEMCOP Here they describe findings from the Optimal Study, funded by the National Institute of Health Research and delivered by a collaboration of researchers from the Universities of Hertfordshire, Nottingham, Surrey, City University London, University College London, Kings College London and Brunel University.

The UK care home sector, with 425,000 beds, is just over three times the size of the acute hospital sector.  It is home to some of the oldest and most vulnerable members of UK society.  The average resident is over 85, has multiple health conditions, cognitive impairment and physical dependency.  Providing care to such older adults is recognised to be complex and challenging. Continue reading

The British Geriatrics Society welcomes £20 million investment to help tackle loneliness

The British Geriatrics Society welcomes yesterday’s joint statement by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport announcing that charities and community groups will get £20 million of new funding to help people experiencing social isolation and loneliness.

Healthcare professionals now recognise loneliness as a ‘public health epidemic’ with evidence to suggest it is as bad for health outcomes as smoking 15 cigarettes a day[i]. Older people are one of the groups most at risk. In the UK, over 1 million older adults admit they feel lonely often or all the time[ii], a number set to increase given the changing demography. Continue reading

My future wishes: Advance Care Planning for people with dementia

Beverley Marriott is an Advanced Nurse Practitioner working in the Birmingham community healthcare foundation trust. She is also a King’s College Older Person Fellow. She tweets @bevbighair

The “My future wishes: Advance Care Planning (ACP) for people with dementia in all care settings” document was recently published by NHS England, Dementia Team and End of Life Care Team.

Advance care planning (ACP) is a vital part of personalised care planning. This recently published document acts as a resource to support clinicians and practitioners who provide health and social care for people with dementia. It aims to ensure people living with dementia can develop an ACP through initiating conversations with their supporting clinicians and/or loved ones. It aims to offer a consistent standard of support for patients diagnosed with dementia using ACPs that are developed in partnership with patients and families. Continue reading

Older people and poor care: a human rights issue

In this blog Helen Wildbore, Policy and Programmes Manager at the British Institute of Human Rights, shares some key points from her speech to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ageing and Older People’s inquiry on human rights on 24th April. Helen shared the platform with Dr Eileen Burns, President of the British Geriatrics Society.

Why is poor care a human rights issue? At the British Institute of Human Rights (BIHR), we work with people at the sharp end of public services and people placed in vulnerable situations, including older people. When things go ‘wrong’ and people receive poor care, their first thought isn’t necessarily their rights.

But human rights can be a powerful tool Continue reading

“The Emperor’s New Clothes”

Professor Martin Green OBE has had an extensive career in NGO development, both in the UK and internationally, and is Chief Executive of Care England, the largest representative body for independent social care services in the UK. He will be speaking at Living and Dying Well with Frailty event on 6 March. Follow the conference on the day via #bgsconf

We have now got a Department of Health and Social Care, what a difference that is going to make (I said sarcastically). With increasing regularity, the Government seems to think that messing about with the headed paper is a route to change. How much evidence do they need that changing titles and rejigging the logos is not going to deliver the transformational change that is required in order to deliver the route map to integrated services. If we had spent one tenth of the money we have spent on new titles, new structures and new logos on culture change, we would be in a far better position than we find ourselves today and the integrated services that citizens are crying out for might be a more attainable goal. Continue reading

Comprehensive Care – NIHR themed review of research into older people with frailty in hospitals

John Gladman is Professor of the Medicine of Older People, Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing and Honorary Consultant in Health Care of Older People at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Vast sums are spent on research into the care of older people, but they are wasted if the findings are not put into practice.

I had an epiphany a few years ago. I looked at my carefully curated curriculum vitae, and noted that I had over 100 peer reviewed papers to my name. But I suddenly felt deflated when I realised that hardly anybody (apart from the journals’ editors) had ever read them. Deflation was followed by shame as I realised that I had made no effort to disseminate my findings to those who might find them useful, or to encourage the application of the findings in practice. I recovered a bit when I realised that it wasn’t just me. There is a real problem as the amount of research being published is monstrously huge. But I returned to shame again when I thought about how little effort I have taken to ensure that I keep up to date with other people’s research. Continue reading

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 GERIATRIC 5Ms – the 5 simple words every geriatrician needs to know (the new mantra)

Frank Molnar is a Canadian Royal College specialist in Geriatric Medicine who serves as the President of the Canadian Geriatrics Society and as the editor of that society’s Continuing Medical Education Journal. He tweets @FrankMolnarCGS

Those outside Specialized Geriatric Services have long had great difficulty understanding what specialists in Geriatrics do. We have contributed to this lack of clarity. As experts in complexity we often have difficulty communicating simply. In well-intentioned efforts to be inclusive and comprehensive we have employed long complex definitions that few outside our field can understand much less recall.

How often have you heard “what do you geriatricians really do?” Are you tired of explaining and re-explaining yourself? Are you looking for a better way to explain and sell our specialty? Continue reading

Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment and the role it plays in improving care delivered to the older person

Dr Diarmuid O’Shea is a Consultant Geriatrician at St Vincent’s University Hospital Dublin, and Clinical Lead for the National Clinical Programme of Older People in Ireland.  

Ms. Carmel Hoey is a Nursing & Midwifery Planning and Development Officer at the NMPD Unit, Galway, and HSE Service Planner for the National Clinical Programme of Older People in Ireland. 

Countries around the world are seeing significant growth in the numbers of people living longer and healthier lives. We all need to reflect proactively on how we can best maximise the intergenerational benefits this will undoubtedly bring and we must also address the challenges it will generate.

Ireland is no different, with a substantial growth evident in our older population. The number of people aged over 65 years increased by 14% between 2006 and 2011. An increase of 17% is predicted between 2011 and 2016, and a further 17% is expected by 2021 (Central Statistics Office, 2013). Continue reading