Teresa Dowsing trained as a physician associate at the University of Birmingham Medical School. She has worked in geriatric medicine for around 7 years and is the Frailty Lead for the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust. To read more about physician associates and the British Geriatrics Society click here.
Creating a ‘Frail Friendly’ Acute Medical Unit (AMU) at George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust ….or what some specialities in my Trust used to call ‘not rocket science’…
Thinking about the latter part of this title, most of us that try to ‘practice’ geriatrics understand that it does sometimes feel like some form of mysterious dark art. A pinch of medicine, followed by a smidgeon of rehabilitation, mixed together with a drop of social care, a big dollop of communication and a dash of common sense. Simple? Not always….. Continue reading →
Dr Shibley Rahman is an academic physician interested mainly in dementia and frailty. He tweets at @dr_shibley
My most recent experience of delirium was truly terrifying, to the point that, as a care partner of a close relative with dementia experiencing delirium, I felt I needed counselling about this admission to a London teaching hospital.
I have now witnessed delirium ‘around the clock’ for half a month so far.
Delirium research is not taken as seriously as it should be.
Where for example is the research which explains the neural substrates of hypoactive and hyperactive delirium? How long do ‘sleep episodes’ last for? Is it a good idea to wake someone up while he is sleeping? Are there are any neuroprotective agents which prevent long term deterioration after delirium? How much of the delirium will the person experiencing it actually remember? Continue reading →
Dr Tarun Solanki is a Consultant Physician and Geriatrician at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.
Geriatricians are, in many hospitals, now responsible for looking after more than 50% of medical in-patients and are frequently required to look after outliers on non-medical wards. A recent article in the BMJ suggests that doctors’ way of working would not be accepted by businesses making decisions with far less impact and suggests that the old concept of the ward round is broken and needs to change[i].
Since we, as geriatricians are providing a substantial element of acute inpatient care, should we not be at the forefront of improving the ward round so that it is not only effective and safe for patients but also to ensure geriatricians do not suffer from undue work pressures and risk burn-out? Continue reading →
Stephen Lim is a Clinical Research Fellow and a Specialist Registrar in Geriatric Medicine in Academic Geriatric Medicine at the University of Southampton. His research interest is in physical activity and deconditioning in hospital. He will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Autumn Meeting in London. He tweets at @StephenERLim
Hospital-associated deconditioning is high on the agenda across hospitals in the UK and many hospital trusts have jumped on the ‘endPJparalysis’ bandwagon to encourage patients to get up and get moving, – and rightly so! It is encouraging to see that healthcare professionals and non-clinical staff members are increasingly aware that prolonged bedrest and immobility is bad medicine.
During an acute illness, older people are at risk of worsening sarcopenia and consequently a decline in physical function. The hospital environment, altered mental state, physiological stresses and poor nutrition (as a sequelae of the acute illness), are some of the important risk factors contributing to a loss of function. Continue reading →
Over the past decade there has been a strong policy focus in the UK and elsewhere on dying out of hospital as a marker of good quality of end of life care. We have previously shown that, for people with dementia, hospital deaths have fallen over this time period, possibly as a result of these policies.
However, it is increasingly recognised that the place of death is an imperfect proxy for the quality of end of life care, providing little more than a snap shot of where a person was in their last moments. Continue reading →
Professor Roger Wong is Executive Associate Dean, Education in the Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia (UBC). He is a consultant geriatrician at Vancouver General Hospital, where he founded the Acute Care for Elders (ACE) unit that is replicated across Canada and internationally. He tweets at @RogerWong10 and is a key opinion leader in geriatrics and ageing. In this blog article he discusses the determinants that can transform the future of acute care for older people. He will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Autumn Meeting in London.
For all of us who work with seniors in the hospital setting, we often wonder what the future holds for acute care for older people. While our crystal ball may appear blurry on some of the exact details, we can certainly take a sneak preview now on three determinants that can change and shape the future of acute care geriatrics.
First, disruptive innovation in the medical sciences has already begun to transform the delivery of healthcare in seniors. Take cancer for example, which affects a significant number of older people every year. Continue reading →
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.firstname.lastname@example.org
Does 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 →
Beverley Marriott is Birmingham Community Healthcare Foundation Trust Nurse Practitioner – Community Matron based at Heart of England Good Hope Hospital. She is currently undertaking a Fellowship in Older People at Kings College London. Here she reminds us that we need to see the whole person when looking at someone with dementia.
Many of us work within dementia care on a daily basis. As a community matron on an AMU department supporting safe and timely discharges for patients with dementia, I understand the importance of getting it right and what happens when we get it wrong.
Dementia has reached a critical point – over recent years the government has seen improvements in diagnosis, raising public awareness and promoting dementia friendly settings. However to deliver this level of improvement requires, time, resources and focus. Continue reading →
Lindsey Ashley is the Communications Manager for the NHS Benchmarking Network and is a strong advocate for benchmarking our NHS services.
It is recognised in the NHS and the media that older people are a major service user cohort for health and social care services, both in hospital (the acute setting) and in the community. It is well described that the population is ageing, as people are living longer, and as a result, there are more older people as a proportion of the overall population. Whilst overall life expectancy is rising, there are also significant inequalities across the country in terms of life expectancy. Continue reading →
Kenneth Rockwood is Professor of Medicine (Geriatric Medicine & Neurology) and consultant geriatrician at Capital Health in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada and Honorary Professor of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Manchester.
Many older people leave hospital frailer than when they started. Some of that is preventable, but much of the damage done by acute illness is baked in to how frailty works. Some of it is reparable. That is why rehabilitation must be part of acute care: if we cannot prevent damage, we should at least treat it, especially damage that we inflicted unnecessarily.
The gist of it is easy enough. When frail patients are unwell enough to come to hospital, they typically are not thinking, functioning and moving like they were before they became ill. That is usually why they come. That, and whatever other symptoms (breathlessness, pain, something red or swollen) signal a problem. Even when fixing the precipitants, modern care often does nothing to address the worse thinking / mobility / function in which the problems were packaged. Such complexity of need defines frailty.