Person-centred care in a sustainable system

Dr Eileen Burns has been a geriatrician in Leeds since 1992 and is President of the BGS. She is currently Clinical Lead for integration in Leeds. She tweets @EileenBurns13 This blog originally appeared as part of Independent Age’s Doing Care Differently series. You can join the debate here.

We warmly welcome Independent Age’s new project, Doing care differently. Our members are passionate advocates for person-centred care. The role of geriatricians and specialist health care professionals starts with identifying the care and treatment that best suits an older person’s individual needs and wishes, and those of their families and carers.  Delays in access to social care, and also in intermediate care, for example, occupational and physio therapy, create unnecessary barriers to person centred care, leading to poorer health outcomes, an increased likelihood of presenting at A&E, and people having to stay on acute hospital wards for longer than necessary.  For older people with frailty the negative impact when this occurs is significant, and their health deteriorates with every additional day spent on an acute hospital ward. Continue reading

Incoming President of the BGS calls for respect for ‘victims of underfunding’

eileenDr Eileen Burns, who takes office today as the new President of the British Geriatrics Society, has called for public recognition that older people facing delays in discharge from hospital are the victims of underfunding of social care and not ‘the problem’. Dr Burns is urging members of the public, and media, to reject pejorative terms like ‘bed blockers’ and urge the Government to give social care the priority it deserves.

Dr Burns is only the second female President since the Society was founded in 1947. She has been a consultant geriatrician in Leeds for twenty-two years, and is an expert in community geriatrics. The primary focus of community geriatrics is to reduce admissions to hospital, and prevent delayed discharges and re-admissions, by ensuring that older patients receive adequate and appropriate care within their community.

Accessible social care is a key factor in reducing hospital admissions and delayed discharges for older people. According to research published earlier this month by Age UK, the number of older people in England who don’t get the social care they need has soared to a new high of 1.2 million – up by a staggering 48% since 2010. Continue reading