Dr. Thomas Jackson is a geriatrician and clinical research fellow, investigating delirium and dementia in general hospital settings. On January 26th – 30th he attended the European Academy for Medicine of Ageing, which aims to bring together mid-career geriatricians from over Europe and beyond to improve knowledge and develop into “future teachers and leaders in geriatrics”. Here he shares his experience and reflections on a stimulating week.
With a certain trepidation I flew into a snowy Munich airport, met with colleagues from across Europe and up the hills we went; the roads getting smaller and the snow deeper. However any concerns I had were put to rest pretty much immediately. After introductions of new students we were treated to our first Teacher’s State of the Art lecture, a tour de force by Professor Jeune from Denmark about the longevity dividend from which I also learnt a lot of Greek mythology (the Tithinos error anyone?).
Today the BGS publishes a two page guide for health service commissioners and planners which sets out what local services should be in place to meet the health needs of older care home residents.
Nearly 400,000 older people live in care homes in the UK. Their health and social care needs are complex. All have some disability, many have dementia, and collectively they have high rates of both necessary and avoidable hospital admissions. Standard health care provision meets their needs poorly, but well-tailored services can make a significant difference. Continue reading →
Ahead of her session at the BGS Falls and Postural Stability Conference in September, Kate Robertson writes with Alex Macdonald for the Geriatric Medicine blog about falls in care homes.
Falls in older adults are common and the rate is three
times higher in people in care homes than in those living in their own homes. Falls in care homes are associated with considerable mortality and morbidity-hip fractures are significantly more prevalent than in community-dwelling older people, with rates in female care home residents estimated as high as 50.8 hip fractures per 1000 person-years.1
A report by the Alzheimer’s Society, with foreword provided by the actor, Kevin Whately, indicates that along with the usual examples of both good and bad care being delivered around the country, expectations are worryingly low among people in care homes and their relatives, as well as the staff working in the care homes.
With 80 per cent of residents living in care homes having either dementia or significant memory problems, says the Alzheimer’ Society, providing good care for these people should be the primary focus of the care home sector. More needs to be done to raise expectations about the quality of life for people with dementia in care homes because lower expectations will always be self-fulfilling.
Dr Adam Gordon is a Consultant and Honorary Associate Professor in Medicine of Older People at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and the University of Nottingham. He also edits this blog.
Arrangements to provide health care to UK care homes are often inadequate. In the British Geriatrics Society’s Failing the Frail Report, based on a national survey by the Care Quality Commission, 57% of residents were reported as being unable to access all health care services required. In 2011, a collaboration of health care groups led by the British Geriatrics Society published Quest for Quality, which went so far as to describe existing arrangements as “a betrayal of older people, an infringement of their human rights and unacceptable in a civilised society”.
So, can we do better?
Since 2008, the Medical Crises in Older People (MCOP) research programme at the University of Nottingham has been working to better understand the challenges and opportunities that society faces in providing effective healthcare to care home residents. As this work draws to a close, we are hosting a conference entitled “Health in care homes: can we do better?” in Nottingham on June 14th, 2013. Details of the conference can be found here.