Mary Ni Lochlainn is an Academic Clinical Fellow in Geriatric Medicine. BGS Junior Members’ Representative and on the BGS Trainee’s Council. She works at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich @younggeris. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) is open to all medical students, student nurses,
student therapists, nurses and AHPs in a preceptor year and Foundation Year doctors and is completely FREE!
I joined the BGS as a first year medical student and thus have benefited from free membership for quite a few years now, and would highly recommend it to all those who are interested in the healthcare of older adults.
You do not have to have your mind set on specialising in geriatric medicine; as we all know the proportion of people older than 65 is growing faster than any other age group (WHO, 2002). In the United Kingdom the population aged 65 years and older is set to increase by two-thirds to reach 15.8 million in 2031 (Wise, 2010). Geriatric medicine is set to become the largest and most exciting specialty in medicine! Beyond that, healthcare professionals in all other specialties (medical, surgical and the rest) will be dealing with more and more older adults in their services. Continue reading →
Daniel Sommer is a Foundation Year 2 Doctor at Charing Cross Hospital in London. He is an aspiring Geriatrician. He tweets at @danielf90
Hello everyone, my name is Dan and I’m a junior doctor and an aspiring geriatrician (read my last blog post here). My new job is working as part of my hospital’s OPAL (Older Peoples’ Assessment & Liaison) team and I absolutely love it. We run a rapid access day clinic that GPs refer into and we review every patient over the age of 70 who is on the acute medicine unit routinely (usually after the consultant post-take ward round but sometimes we’re asked to intervene earlier). I felt compelled to write something about admission avoidance in the elderly because I hear so much about it in the media and my working experience does not correlate with what I read. Continue reading →
Be good to older people. Many of your patients will be frail and vulnerable. Much of society may view them as a burden. You should not. These are mothers, fathers, husbands and wives. They have been on this planet two or three times as long as you have and many of them will have rich tales to tell. It is your job to look after them as well as you can, with empathy and kindness.
Be part of the team. Physiotherapists, occupational therapists, other allied health professionals and experienced nurses will know things that you don’t know – both day to day information, and nuggets of clinical wisdom. Introduce yourself to them, ask about progress, and feed back relevant information. You are now working in a multidisciplinary team.
Older people are really complicated. Acute coronary syndrome (to give just one example) will rarely be treated in a standardised fashion on an elderly ward. Some patients may be suitable for all the drugs on an ‘ACS protocol’. Others may not be suitable for more than one (or even none). Far more will be in between. Look at what your seniors are doing, and ask them why. Remember there is very little black and white in geriatric medicine and different doctors may do different things. Think about their reasoning and decide what kind of doctor you will be.