Autumn Speakers Series: Benchmarking Practice in UK Long-term care, can we make it work?

Adam Gordon is Clinical Associate Professor in Medicine of Older People at the University of Nottingham and a Consultant Geriatrician at Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He is a specialist advisor to the East Midlands Academic Health Sciences Network Patient Safety Collaborative on Care Homes and will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Autumn Meeting in London. He tweets at @adamgordon1978

Contrary to what might be gleaned from the lay media, the quality of care received by residents in care homes – whether from care home or National Health Service staff – is frequently exceptional.  Care home residents are amongst the most complex recipients of care within the health and social care system and so they can stretch even the most capable and dedicated of staff. It is therefore, perhaps, unsurprising that things do not always go to plan – even in the best of homes. There are also, undoubtedly, examples of care homes where things go wrong more frequently – where shortcomings in care are not so much sporadic, as systematic. This is unacceptable. Continue reading

‘Look out’ – assessing a patient’s vision for falls prevention, what should it look like?

Dr Kawa Amin represents the BGS on the advisory group for the National Audit of Inpatient Falls (NAIF). He is a Consultant Geriatrician, Consultant lead for falls service and Geriatrics Departmental Lead for Safety & Quality at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

As part of my role on the NAIF advisory group I have been involved in the development of a new bedside vision assessment tool which enables ward staff to quickly assess a patient’s eyesight in order to help prevent them falling or tripping while in hospital.

Being acutely unwell is and in a different environment, is a stressful experience.  Even with reassuring care from clinical teams treating them, older people often need extra support in a ward environment.  Can you imagine how frightening such an experience might be for a patient with visual impairment?  It’s perhaps no wonder that poor vision is a risk for delirium.   Continue reading

Selfie with a centenarian!

Esther Clift is a Consultant Practitioner Trainee in Frailty, and Vice Chair of the BGS nurses and AHP Council. She is undertaking a Doctorate in Clinical Practice at Southampton University on the uptake of exercise by older people. She was inspired by an interview with Dr Frankland on the Today Programme, and went to ask him about his own use of exercise.

‘I just think he should have told me, I’m not stupid!’ – Dr AW Frankland reflects on his introduction to Strength and Balance exercises.

Dr AW Frankland was born the year the Titanic sank, and started medical school in Oxford when Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister. He was supervised by Sir Alexander Fleming at St Marys and is described as the ‘grandfather of allergy research’. His daily hour long supervisions with Fleming never included discussing patients – ‘he was a pure scientist, who wanted to talk about science.’ Continue reading

A call for collaboration…

Cassandra Leese is a Nurse, Clinical Supervisor and a wannabe dog owner.  She occasionally remembers to tweet @contrarylass

In today’s economic climate, when health and social care are really feeling the crunch, I often find myself feeling morose about the future. Day after day we see the terrible pressures our overstretched services are under, read about the heartbreaking death of another promising doctor burnt out from battling it out in secondary care; or hear about another valuable service making drastic cuts. And selfishly, I’m rather cross that all this seems to have come at a time when I’m incredibly excited to have finally found my place in the nursing landscape, that of gerontology and geriatrics. Coming along to my first BGS West Midlands meeting this spring was a welcome reprieve from the madness spewed daily by the tabloids and renewed my faith that the good guys are still out there! Continue reading

BGS Election Manifesto

Caroline Cooke is Policy Manager at BGS.  Here she explains why BGS has published its own election manifesto, what it says and how you can get involved. 

The 2017 General Election offers an opportunity to promote the issues that most affect the healthcare of older people across the UK.  By publishing our own manifesto we are helping to raise awareness and understanding among key opinion-formers and decision-makers, including parliamentary candidates, of the work of BGS and the unique expertise of our members.  It is also a way of demonstrating that BGS will be working to influence policy development after the election.  Continue reading

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

Cognitive impairment, mortality and discharge from an acute hospital

Carole Fogg is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth/Portsmouth Hospitals Trust, (UK). She is a PhD Fellow under the Wessex Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Healthcare and Research, exploring hospital care and outcomes for patients with cognitive impairment and dementia. Her paper “The relationship between cognitive impairment, mortality and discharge characteristics in a large cohort of older adults with unscheduled admissions to an acute hospital: a retrospective observational study has recently been published in Age and Ageing. She tweets at @Carole_Fogg 

When older people with dementia are admitted to hospital, they are more likely to die or to stay in hospital longer than people without dementia. Many older people have cognitive impairment (CI) (problems with memory and thinking) which is a main feature of dementia, but have not yet been given a diagnosis, or may have CI due to other medical conditions. We investigated how common cognitive impairment is in older patients in hospital, and what the risks are for these patients of staying longer or dying in hospital. 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