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

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

A Connection between Cognitive Decline and Metabolic Disease May Vary by Sex and Ethnicity

Nancy West, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Population Health at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. Dr. West’s research, published in Age & Ageing, focuses on identifying risk factors for cognitive decline and dementia that will identify high-risk populations and lead to strategies for prevention.

brainDecline in cognitive function in late adulthood has been associated with an interesting cluster of metabolic abnormalities, such as diabetes and obesity. This suggests the possibility that genetic factors that are related to metabolic disease may also be related to cognitive decline. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG) gene is known to play key roles in fat and glucose metabolism. In our study, we investigated a common mutation in the PPARG gene (Pro12Ala) to determine its relationship with cognitive decline. Continue reading

November issue of Age and Ageing journal out now

The November 2016 issue of Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society is out now.

aaA full table of contents is available here, with editorials, research papers, reviews, short reports, case reports book reviews and more.

Hot topics this issue include:

  • Sarcopaenia
  • Palliative care
  • Osteocalcin and cognitive performance
  • Falls

The Editor’s View can be read here. Continue reading

Paramedics; Frailty detection and admission avoidance

Dr Amy Heskett works as a Speciality Doctor within the West Kent Urgent Care Home Treatment Service. This team aims to prevent hospital admissions by working alongside GPs, nurses, carers and paramedics to provide a holistic management plan. She writes a blog about her experiences on her blog communitydoctoramy.wordpress.com and can be found on twitter @mrsapea

paramedics-photoThe West Kent Home Treatment Service provides home-based medical treatments to avoid hospital admissions when appropriate. Referrals come from GPs, Community Nurses and Paramedics; but more importantly our team widens as soon as we start to work with patients, their family and carers.

A day of referrals began with a call from a Paramedic who had attended V after she had fallen in her bedroom, but luckily sustained no injury. This was on a background of dementia and the need for daily support from her son to assist with meals, prompt medications and support trips made outside the home. V’s only other medical history was that of hypertension and one fall a year ago. V was normally able to get herself to the toilet and used a stick to mobilise slowly indoors; while carers attended once a day to provide personal care. Continue reading

Book Review: Problem Solving in Older Cancer Patients

Dr Shane O’Hanlon is a consultant geriatrician with a special interest in surgical liaison and cancer care for older people. He tweets @drohanlon

book reviewAs geriatricians seem ever thinly spread, the possibility of us providing input to the population of older people with cancer seems challenging – especially when you consider that a majority of cancer diagnoses and deaths occur in the over 65s. However oncogeriatrics has taken root in the past 2 or 3 years and there are now a few centres nationally offering just this approach. For those geriatricians who are hoping to provide it (or oncologists who are trying to entice them) this book will be of great interest.

“Problem solving in older cancer patients” is published in association with the Association of Cancer Physicians (ACP), and also the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) (but this of course does not affect the objectivity of this review!). It represents a great team effort by a range of geriatricians and oncologists, including trainees. Continue reading

Drugs, older people and doctors; well-being or suffering? A simple list helps to avoid harm and to gain benefits

Dr Martin Wehling is Professor of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Heidelberg. He is a board certified internist with expertise in cell physiology, steroid pharmacology, nongenomic steroid actions, clinical trials and clinical medicine. He discusses his Age & Ageing Paper VALFORTA: a randomised trial to validate the FORTA (Fit fOR The Aged) classification.

wehDrug therapy is the most relevant therapeutic intervention in medicine; older people tend to suffer from multiple diseases (multimorbidity) and thus are likely to receive multiple drug treatments (polypharmacy). It has been demonstrated that patients aged 65 and older take five or more drugs in 44% (male) and 57% (female) of cases and 10 or more drugs in 12% of cases.

Taking 10 and more drugs is unpredictable and expensive and seems to cause more harm than good, given that up to 100,000 deaths in the United States annually are attributed to medications. Guidelines are considered as main drivers of therapeutic decisions under the conditions of evidence-based medicine (EBM). Continue reading

Committee Volunteers Wanted; Finance, Fundraising and Corporate Affairs

11528630884_18cfe92f26The BGS is seeking to appoint a number of new committee members to progress our work in the area of Finance, Fund Raising and Corporate Affairs. These are voluntary, unpaid roles, though travel costs and other expenses will be covered. The posts are open both to new candidates and to those who are already serving on BGS committees. The anticipated time commitment is one half day per month, but this may vary according to the demands of the role. Administrative support will be provided by the BGS secretariat. The term of office is three years. Continue reading

The British Geriatrics Society backs the CQC’s Call for Integrated Patient Centred Care

200x200-building-bridgesThe British Geriatrics Society welcomes the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) Report ‘Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers’, which addresses how health and social care services work together to provide integrated care for older people. In response to the report Dr Eileen Burns, President-Elect of The British Geriatrics Society and Clinical Lead for Integration in Leeds, commented:

“The CQC’s report ‘Building Bridges, Breaking Barriers’ accurately shows that although there is widespread commitment among health and social care professionals to providing integrated care for older people, there is still a long way to go. Findings from the report indicate that barriers include a lack of common understanding about how to deliver integrated care, a lack of consistency and mainstream implementation, as well as services struggling to identify older people who are at risk of deterioration or unplanned hospital visits. This report correctly identifies the opportunity that the 5 Year Forward View Vanguards and Sustainability and Transformation Plans offer to plan for and embed a shared vision of the delivery of integrated care. 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