Spring Speakers Series: Developing an Intervention for Falls in Dementia

Louise Allan is a Geriatrician with a specialist interest in the Neurology and Psychiatry of Old Age. Her research interests include the non-Alzheimer’s dementias and the physical health of people with dementia. She will be speaking at the upcoming BGS Spring Meeting in Nottingham.

Between 47-90% of people with dementia (PWD) fall at least once a year (almost ten times more often than controls). After a fall, PWD are less likely to recover well, more likely to be hospitalised, are hospitalised for longer and are more likely to require increased care. We currently know little about the care received by these patients. There is evidence to suggest that staff may perceive PWD as less capable of rehabilitation and staff in community services providing follow-up care may not have specific training in the care of PWD. Continue reading

March 2018 issue of Age and Ageing journal is out now

The March 2018 issue of Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society is out now.

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

Hot topics in this issue include:

  • Increasing medication use in older people
  • Frailty and mortality
  • Excessive alcohol intake in later life
  • Z-drugs, falls and fractures
  • Research methods for cohort studies

    The Editor’s View article gives an overview of the issue with a summary of highlights. This article is free to read and can be viewed here. Continue reading

    Spring Speakers Series: Are rules of thumb the answer?

    Nathan Davies is a Senior Research Fellow at University College London focusing on care for people with dementia towards the end of life and supporting family carers. In this post he talks about his upcoming talk at the BGS Spring Meeting in Nottingham on his work developing rules of thumb for providing care towards the end of life for someone with dementia.

    Can rules of thumb help manage uncertainty and the challenges facing practitioners caring for someone with dementia at the end of life?

    We know that caring for someone towards the end of life can be a rewarding and intimate experience with that individual and those close to them. However, unfortunately for practitioners it can also be emotionally tough and challenging. This is particularly the case when caring for someone with dementia towards the end of life. Continue reading

    January 2018 issue of Age and Ageing journal is out now

    The January 2018 issue of Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society is out now.
    A full table of contents is available here, with editorials, research papers, reviews, short reports, case reports book reviews and more.  
    Hot topics in this issue include:
    •  Acute coronary syndromes
    • Haloperidol and prevention of
    • Oral anticoagulants in atrial fibrillation
    • Vertebral fragility factures
    • Enteral tube feeding in dementia

    The Editor’s View article gives an overview of the issue with a summary of highlights. This article is free to read and can be viewed here. Continue reading

    The Geriatrics “Profanisaurus.” Volume 2 –  The diagnostic myths that do not die

    Dan Thomas is an ST5 based in the Mersey Deanery (HENW) and is the Clinical Quality Representative on the BGS Trainees Council. He tweets @dan26wales

    In 2013 Professor David Oliver wrote a blog, the Geriatrics “Profanisaurus”, a list of words and phrases that should be banned, he encouraged other ‘BGS-ers to join in the fun and add their own “unutterables”.

    My contribution to this list is some frequently encountered diagnoses that should be approached with scepticism.

    ‘Bilateral cellulitis’: If both legs are infected then the person should be unwell. Usually red legs are caused by a combination of underlying pathology; acute lipodermatosclerosis, venous hypertension, venous stasis dermatitis, lymphoedema or panniculits. The legs are hot and swollen but in the context of someone who is afebrile with minimal inflammatory response. The reason they are not responding to antibiotics is because they do not have an infection. Continue reading

    John’s Campaign: three years old, November 30th 2017 Changing the culture of care?

    Nicci Gerrard and Julia Jones founded John’s Campaign after the publication, in the Observer newspaper on November 30th 2014, of Nicci’s article about the death of her father Dr John Gerrard. They tweet @JohnCampaign

    John’s Campaign advocates for the removal of all restrictions on family carers supporting their relatives in hospital and a positive attitude of welcome and collaboration throughout the health and care system.  It places no duty on informal carers and imposes no specific procedures on professionals – other than making their welcome explicit. Dementia is a disability as well as an illness: access to this additional level of support (if available) should be a right for people living with dementia. Information, contacts and resources can be found on the John’s Campaign website www.johnscampaign.org.uk Continue reading

    Book Review: Please tell me…

    Liz Charalambous is a nurse and PhD student. She tweets @lizcharalambou and is a regular guest blogger for the BGS. Here she reviews ‘Please tell me…’ by Julia Jones and Claudia Myatt.

    Without a doubt, one of the most important documents in older person care is the Alzheimer’s Society This is me support tool. It enables carers to access information with which to provide holistic care and is underpinned by a social model of care rather than a medical model, so important in today’s world of fast paced, pressurised, and increasingly politicised healthcare services. It places the person in the centre of care, ensuring their likes, dislikes, and preferences are recorded for the whole team to access.

    Indeed, a favourite teaching strategy when introducing new students to dementia care is to provide them with two copies of ‘this is me’ and ask them to take them home for their partners or significant others to complete in the manner of ‘Mr and Mrs’ style 1970s TV programme. I have heard many stories of students returning the next day reporting back to the group that their other half had failed hopelessly in filling in the form, prompting them to realise the precariousness of ensuring person centred care in such instances. Continue reading

    Antidementia medication may improve survival in Alzheimer’s disease

    Dr Christoph Mueller is an Academic Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Old Age Psychiatry at King’s College London. He and his co-authors published a paper on the influence of antidementia medication on survival in Alzheimer’s disease in Age and Ageing. He tweets at @DrChrisMueller

    At present Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, as Donepezil or Rivastigmine, are the only medications available for treatment of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. They can slow down the progression of the illness and alleviate distressing symptoms. However, their benefits are modest and they can have side effects, such as a slow heartbeat, indigestion, weight loss or an increased risk of falls. Moreover, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of death for men and women 80 years or older in England and Wales. We investigated whether being prescribed antidementia medication was associated with survival in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Continue reading

    Promoting Activity, Independence and Stability in Early Dementia (PrAISED)

    Professor Rowan H Harwood is a geriatrician at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and the University of Nottingham, with particular interests in delirium, dementia and end of life care, who maintains an active portfolio of research. He tweets @RowanHarwood 

    Can exercise-based therapy prevent or delay disability and dependency in those in the early stages of dementia?

    We have heard the drum beat of gloomy messages. We cannot continue to cope with ever greater demands for health and social care. Prevention is better than cure, but the NHS is ‘on the hook’ for failing to take prevention seriously.

    There is a semblance of a response. Sustainability and Transformation Plans emphasise prevention. We know that some groups, such as people with frailty or dementia, are at risk of crises and functional decline, and on the cusp of dependency and need for services. It makes sense to identify people at risk earlier, and intervene. Continue reading

    Dying with dementia – we need to measure more than the place of death

    Katherine Sleeman is an NIHR Clinician Scientist and Honorary Consultant in Palliative Medicine at the Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London. In this blog she discusses her paper Predictors of emergency department attendance by people with dementia in their last year of life: Retrospective cohort study using linked clinical and administrative data. She tweets @kesleeman

    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