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About the BGS

The British Geriatrics Society is the professional body of specialist doctors, nurses, therapists and other professionals concerned with the health care of older people in the United Kingdom.

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Age & Ageing Journal

Age and Ageing  is the British Geriatrics Society’s international scientific journal. It publishes refereed original articles and commissioned reviews on geriatric medicine and gerontology.

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BGS Staff Vacancy

The BGS is inviting applications to fill its vacancy for a Membership Administrator. Interviews will be held on 29 March. The closing date for applications is 19th March. Click here for details.

National Audit Office report on reducing emergency admissions

Download the full report

Background to the report

NHS England defines an emergency admission to be “when admission is unpredictable and at short notice because of clinical need”. Some emergency admissions are clinically appropriate and unavoidable. Others could be avoided by providing alternative forms of urgent care, or by providing appropriate care and support earlier to prevent a person becoming unwell enough to require an emergency admission.

The Department of Health & Social Care sets NHS England’s mandate for arranging the provision of health services. The 2017-18 mandate includes an objective for NHS England to achieve a measurable reduction in emergency admission rates by 2020.

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Palliative care provisions are not meeting the needs of an ageing population

BGS, London (7 March 2018): A commentary published today in Age and Ageing, the scientific journal of the British Geriatrics Society, warns despite the fact that frail older people with multiple illnesses and end stage dementia are the most rapidly growing group in need of palliative care current provisions are not aligned to meet their needs.

The authors of the commentary noted that current projections indicate that between 25% and 47% more people may need palliative care by 2040 in England and Wales. A high proportion of these people will die following a prolonged period of increasing frailty and co-morbidity including cancer, but also other long-term conditions such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes or renal failure.

Current palliative care provisions were initially developed during the hospice movement in the 1960s which transformed the philosophy of care and experience of dying for patients and families affected by cancer. The goal was to provide holistic care, excellent control of symptoms and enhancement of quality of life until the end. This philosophy of palliative care, alongside core cultural values of autonomy and choice, has shaped prevailing policy and professional constructs of ‘the good death’. The authors highlighted the fact that for many older patients current palliative care provisions do not align with their needs as these provisions rely on clearly identifiable and relatively short terminal disease trajectories.

The authors concluded that there is an urgent need to restructure and provide additional funding for palliative care in community care settings to accommodate the changing needs of an ageing population. The prolongation of dying creates enormous new challenges and reduces the possibility of dying at home, especially for those who live alone.

Kristian Pollock, co-author of the commentary and a Principal Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham, commented:

"We are pleased to have worked with Age and Ageing and colleagues in the USA to bring to greater attention the need to adapt palliative care services to the growing needs of older people with frailty and dementia: this is one of the biggest public health challenges globally."

Read the Age and Ageing commentary ‘Reappraising ‘the good death’ for populations in the age of ageing’.

New from NICE – People’s experience in adult social care services

NICE has launched a new guideline on People's experience in adult social care services: improving the experience of care and support for people using adult social care services. It covers good practice in the care and support of all adults who use services and aims to improve their experience of services. People who use services were involved in the development of the guideline and the recommendations are based on what they consider to be important in their care and support.

This guideline covers the care and support of adults receiving social care in their own homes, residential care and community settings. It aims to help people understand what care they can expect and to improve their experience by supporting them to make decisions about their care.

The guideline includes recommendations on:

  • providing information
  • assessing care and support needs and care planning
  • providing care and support
  • staff skills and experience
  • involving people who use services in service design and improvement

King's Fund: Approaches to social care funding

It is widely accepted that the system for funding social care is in urgent need of reform. Faced with shrinking budgets, local authorities are struggling to meet the growing demand for care, linked to increasing complexity in need and an ageing population. As a result, the number of older people receiving publicly funded social care has declined. While in practice, much of this shortfall has been met by private spending and informal care; it is also likely that many people’s care needs are going unmet.

There is little sign of a long-term solution on the horizon. For those who have watched the progress of the social care system over the years, this is a familiar disappointment. Since 1998, there have been 12 green papers, white papers and other consultations, as well as five independent commissions, all attempting to grapple with the problem of securing a sustainable social care system. It has been called ‘one of the greatest unresolved public policy issues of our time’.

Against this background, the Health Foundation and The King’s Fund are undertaking work exploring options for the future funding of social care. This paper considers the following approaches to funding social care for older people in England:

  • Improving the current system
  • The Conservative Party’s proposals at the time of the 2017 general election (a revised means test and a cap on care costs)
  • A single budget for health and social care
  • Free personal care
  • A hypothecated tax for social care

Falls prevention: cost-effective commissioning

The return on investment tool, to which Dr Vicki Goodwin contributed, has now been published by Public Health England and pulls together evidence on the effectiveness and associated costs for interventions aimed at preventing falls in older people living in the community. The flexible Excel sheet allows for results to be tailored to the local situation based on the knowledge of the user. All interventions are aimed at those aged 65 and over.

The tool comes with an accompanying report, which details how the tool was constructed and presents the main results.

The second report summarises the findings from a literature review carried out to identify cost-effective interventions.

Local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) can use results from the tool to protect and improve the health of their local populations when making commissioning decisions.

Trainees' weekend 2018 - Powerpoints

The powerpoint files supporting presentations at the BGS Trainees 2018 weekend are now available for download. We publish only those files which have been authorised for publication by the authors. The files are published in secured pdf format to obviate plagiarism as far as this is possible. (updated 19 February 2018).

Sally Briggs: What are we looking for in a new appointment? (19 Feb 2018)

Rachel Binks: Telemedicine, the new frontier 

Chris Douglass: Stroke Mimics

Matt Jones: The medical memory clinic and atypical dementias

Emma Pickavance and Raj Parikh: Osteoporosis 

David Riding: How to manage leg ulcers in the elderly 

Mini Singh: Approaches to skin problems

Sandy Thomson: SCE in Geriatric Medicine: Friend or Foe

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