Those outside Specialized Geriatric Services have long had great difficulty understanding what specialists in Geriatrics do. We have contributed to this lack of clarity. As experts in complexity we often have difficulty communicating simply. In well-intentioned efforts to be inclusive and comprehensive we have employed long complex definitions that few outside our field can understand much less recall.
How often have you heard “what do you geriatricians really do?” Are you tired of explaining and re-explaining yourself? Are you looking for a better way to explain and sell our specialty? Continue reading →
Kenneth Rockwood MD, FRCPC, FRCP is Professor of Medicine (Geriatric Medicine & Neurology) at Dalhousie University, and a staff physician at the Halifax Infirmary of the Nova Scotia Health Authority. He tweet @Krockdoc
“The dangers of going to bed”, elaborated by Richard Asher in 1947 illustrates for just how long the hospital bed has been recognized as a hazard for older adults. It can also be source of rich clinical information. Understanding this through quantification and plain language descriptors offers one means to “geriatrize” routine care. Like many of such workaday skills, assessing how someone moves in bed is not that tricky, but it requires both the cognitive task of paying attention and the affective one of wanting to do so. Continue reading →
Debra Quartermaine is a Qualified Nurse and currently works as the Falls Prevention Co-ordinator as well as the Dance for Health programme coordinator at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Debra has experience of nursing in a variety of specialties including general medicine, care of the elderly, learning disabilities and mental health.
Thousands of emotions well up inside me throughout the day. They are released when I dance.- Abraham Lincoln
Since 2013, two pilot projects, funded through Addenbrookes Charitable Trust [ACT], and Addenbrookes Arts, involving weekly dance and movement sessions were run on elderly care, stroke rehabilitation and neuro-rehabilitation wards at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. An evaluation showed that the sessions enhanced wellbeing and health through supporting increased movement, more positive moods, and greater socialisation. Continue reading →
Dr Amit Arora is a Consultant Physician and Geriatrician at University Hospital of North Staffordshire, Stoke on Trent and an Honorary Clinical Lecturer at Keele University.
Many years ago I was subject to restricted mobility following an emergency appendicectomy. It took me a surprisingly long time to regain my strengths and abilities- I noted that despite the youth and the will, my muscles would not move and it took a while to recover back to normal!
When I co-relate this to the frail older people that I see in hospitals, I can understand why someone who was able to function well before they came to hospital takes longer to regain their pre-admission functionality. Prolonged hospital stay, bed rest and attendant risks may lead to loss of muscle power, strength and abilities. This is something we surely need to avoid. It should help achieve a shorter length of stay, better outcomes for patients and better ability at discharge. 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.
Amanda King is an Occupational Therapist currently working in Nottingham, UK and tweeting at @Alk768. She has used a recent Masters in Research Methods to investigate rehabilitation in the context of outdoor mobility for care home residents. Here she describes her research journey to date.
I am an NHS Occupational Therapist working in a multi-disciplinary service which provides physical rehabilitation to promote the functional recovery, well-being and independence of older people living in the community. One of the reasons I chose to work with older people, once qualified, was due to spending time in care homes as an undergraduate student. I developed a project, Care Homes Activities Team (CHAT), which involved persuading twenty six occupational therapy students to volunteer to design and deliver a range of activities to the residents of six different care homes, over a period of three months. This experience allowed us to develop our activity provision skills and promote occupational therapy in care homes. It also provided valuable additional resources to the care homes whose staff and residents were very appreciative of the time and energy given by the students. Continue reading →