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About the BGS

The British Geriatrics Society is the professional body of specialists in the health care of older people in the United Kingdom.

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Sarcopenia Special Interest Group

The British Geriatrics Society has launched a new special interest group in frailty and sarcopenia. Sarcopenia has emerged as a key topic in geriatric medicine and represents a rapidly expanding field of research.

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Call for Abstracts

Call for Abstracts for the BGS 2017 Spring Meeting to be held in Gateshead, Newcastle, 26 - 28 April 2017. The submissions facility closes at 17:00 on 12th December. Click here to submit an abstract if you are presenting your work for the first time.

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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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Developing core outcome set for perioperative studies on hip fracture patients

There is insufficient evidence to guide the anaesthetic management of hip fracture patients.  One reason for this is the variation in outcomes reported and their definitions. This causes difficulty when pooling outcomes for comparison.

The aim of  this study being conducted at Queen's University Belfast is to develop a core outcome set (COS) for use in studies on the perioperative care of hip fracture patients.  The study will provide the opportunity to address this variation in outcome reporting and allow better comparison between studies in future.

To date, the team has conducted a systematic review of the literature in order to provide an initial set of commonly reported outcomes for you to rank in this survey.  You will also have the opportunity to include any additional outcomes that you think should be present in the final COS.

To register, click here. For more information, email:

Every older person in a care home needs access to high quality healthcare

British Geriatrics Society (6 December 2016): The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) calls for everyone who commissions or provides healthcare in care homes to follow the principles of good practice set out in the guidance published today, so that every older person who lives in a care home in the UK has access to high quality healthcare which fully meets their needs. Based on the clinical expertise of our members our updated guidance sets out clinical and service priorities for how best practice can be achieved, and provides clear indicators of what successful delivery looks like for older people, their families and carers.

In the UK 405,000 people over the age of 65 years old currently live in care homes. This represents 16% of older people over the age of 85. Their healthcare needs are complex and the average care home resident has multiple long-term conditions, and frailty. They are likely to have better health outcomes if health services reflect these needs, and they have access  to comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessment, with input from healthcare specialists trained in the care of complex medical problems in later life.

‘Guidance on commissioning and providing healthcare services across the UK; Effective healthcare for older people living in care homes’ provides short accessible guidance that highlights the benefits for older people themselves, for the local NHS and for local care homes as a result of having appropriate services in place.  It describes the activities that will enable these outcomes to be achieved, and includes suggestions for how services can be monitored and evaluated to see if they are having a positive impact.

In her first statement since taking office a week ago, BGS’s new President Dr Eileen Burns said: 

 “It is of the utmost importance that the healthcare needs of older people living in care homes are treated as high priority. The NHS has a vital role to play in ensuring that older care home residents have a better quality of life. We know that health care services can be designed to deliver better healthcare. We call on those responsible for planning health services locally to follow this guidance to ensure that they are not ignoring the needs and rights of older people, and are designing appropriate and sustainable services.

The health needs of older people living in care homes are complex. It is vital that NHS commissioners and policy makers recognise that input from appropriately trained specialists is key to ensuring a better quality of life for older people living in care homes.”

Nurses to earn degree 'on the job' with new apprentice scheme

Reported by ITV (30 November): Student nurses will be able to train for on-the-job apprenticeships, which could see up to 1,000 new nurses joining the NHS each year, the Health Secretary is to announce. 

Jeremy Hunt will unveil plans to create the new role which will sit with fully qualified nurses and another position, nursing associates. But Unison has urged the government to tackle the shortage of nurses head on rather than look for "cheap alternatives". Researchers argue that allowing health workers other than fully registered nurses to care for patients and carry out nursing tasks increases the risk of death for patients. Under the new plans, apprentice nurses could be on NHS wards from next September. Trainees will join the apprenticeship at different stages, depending on their qualifications and experience.

See also: 'Earn as you learn' plan for nurses with new part-time degrees (Telegraph); Apprentice nurses could treat hospital patients in bid to tackle shortages (The Guardian); New nursing apprentice role announced (BBC)

Research Prize - Applications Invited

The Royal College of Physicians have an opportunity for young research workers who feel they have made a major contribution to clinical science to apply for the Graham Bull prize and Goulstonian lecture. A £1,000 prize is available, and the winner will be asked to deliver the Goulstonian lecture at an RCP event.  

Applications close on 31 March 2017, and further information can be found at https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/graham-bull-prize-clinical-science-and-goulstonian-lectureship.

Updated NICE hip fracture quality standards

This quality standard covers the diagnosis and management of hip fracture in adults (aged 18 years and over). It describes high-quality care in priority areas for improvement. It does not cover the prevention of hip fracture, which is covered in osteoporosis and falls in older people.

In November 2016, this quality standard was updated in response to an annual review, which identified changes in the areas for improvement for this topic.

Care for elderly ‘close to collapse’ across UK as council funding runs out

Reported in The Guardian (26 November): Theresa May under pressure as doctors urge funding U-turn and cross-party alliance warns millions of people are at risk.

The medical profession, together with Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat leaders in local government, have demanded a funding U-turn, warning that the safety of millions of elderly people is at risk because of an acute financial crisis completely overlooked in chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn statement.

New figures obtained by the Observer show that 77 of the 152 local authorities responsible for providing care for the elderly have seen at least one residential and nursing care provider close in the last six months, because cuts to council budgets meant there were insufficient funds to run adequate services.

In 48 councils, at least one company that provides care for the elderly in their own homes has ceased trading over the same period, placing councils under sudden and huge pressure to find alternative provision. In addition, 59 councils have had to find new care arrangements after contracts were handed back by a provider who decided that they were unable to make ends meet on the money that councils were able to pay them.

The medical profession, council leaders and even the former Tory health secretary, Andrew Lansley, are appalled that the social care crisis – exacerbated by growing numbers of elderly people and the rising costs of paying staff – was not addressed in the autumn statement.

Joining up care for older people with frailty

BGS, London, 24 November 2016 Across the UK, innovative collaborations between GPs and specialist geriatricians are paving the way to better care for older people with frailty.

A new joint report from the Royal College of GPs and the British Geriatrics Society has been published today, showcasing how GPs and geriatricians are collaborating to design and lead innovative schemes to improve the provision of integrated care for older people with frailty. 

Advancements in medicine are a great success story, and as a result our patients are living longer, but they are also increasingly living with multiple, long term conditions and that brings a number of challenges for general practice and the wider NHS.

Older patients make up the majority of those attending GP surgeries and acute hospitals so getting the right combinations of care in the right place and at the right time is crucial to avert avoidable admissions and delayed discharge from hospital. 

Integrated care for older people with frailty: innovative approaches in practice is being launched today at the British Geriatrics Society’s national scientific meeting where over 700 geriatricians, and other healthcare professionals engaged in the specialist care of older people are gathering to share best practice and the latest scientific research.  

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Sustainability and transformation plans in the NHS - How are they being developed in practice?

Published by King's Fund (14 November): Sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) have been developed by NHS and local government leaders in 44 parts of England. The plans offer a chance for health and social care leaders to work together to improve care and manage limited resources. But will they succeed where other initiatives have failed?

Despite the importance of STPs for the NHS and the public, little is known about the process of developing the plans and how the initiative has worked in practice. Based on a series of interviews with senior NHS and local government leaders which took place throughout 2016, this report looks at how STPs have been developed in four parts of the country.

1.2m older people don’t get the social care they need - Age UK

Published by Age UK (November 2016): The number of older people in England who don’t get the social care they need has soared to a new high of 1.2 million – up by a staggering 48% since 2010. This analysis by Age UK (published 17 November) finds that since 2010, 383,900 more people aged 65 or over are now living with some level of unmet need.

This means nearly 1 in 8 older people are struggling without the help they need to carry out essential everyday tasks, such as getting out of bed, going to the toilet, washing and getting dressed. Over 696k older people get no help at all

Among the 1.2 million, Age UK’s analysis shows that 696,500 older people do not receive any help at all, from either paid carers or family and friends, and that a further 487,400 receive some help but not enough, often because help is only available at particular times of day or their carers are only able to manage some tasks but not others.

Furthermore, it's particularly shocking that nearly a quarter (291,400) of older people with unmet needs have difficulty with three or more essential tasks; this is nearly half (45.5%) of all those who reported needing help at that level - even worse, 52,700 of them receive no help whatsoever.

Core competences for end of life care for geriatric medicine trainees (and trainers)

Physicians practising in general internal medicine (GIM), acute internal medicine (AIM) and most medical specialties commonly manage illness in patients who may be in the last phase of their lives, both as inpatients and outpatients, and decision making about their preferences for treatment and care should routinely be a joint process with patients and their families. Ensuring that this is the normal or default approach, coupled with specific attitudes and skills to manage end-of-life care (EoLC) discussions sensitively and manage symptoms optimally are core attributes of good doctors.  The Joint Royal Colleges of Physicians Training Board has published guidance for trainees (and trainers) in non-palliative medicine (see section four for core competences). The key competences expected are shown in the curriculum extracts in section four. 

Clarification of training requirements for higher specialist trainees in Geriatric Medicine in Old Age Psychiatry

Based on the specialty training curriculum for geriatric medicine August 2010 (amendments 2013). Reference is also made to the guidelines for collaboration between physicians of geriatric medicine and psychiatrists of old age (A joint policy statement by the British Geriatrics Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists).

It is important to distinguish the basic training requirements for all higher specialist trainees in geriatric medicine who need to be able to assess and manage older patients presenting with the common geriatric problems (such as delirium, dementia and depression) from the smaller number of trainees seeking to demonstrate additional competencies in old age psychiatry by completing the optional higher level training. 

The core curriculum compentencies in delirium, dementia and psychiatry of old age are set out here (pdf)

New resources from NICE and SCIE : Improving oral health for adults in care homes

Responding to requests from the social care sector for shorter and more accessible information resources, SCIE and NICE have got together to develop a new quick guide format. Improving oral health for adults in care homes  is aimed at care home managers. It provides advice on how to support older people to maintain good oral health and also  includes an oral health assessment tool. Better home care for older people is for people who arrange their own care. The guide explains what they should expect from a home care service and what to do if the service is not good enough. 

The guides are based on NICE guidance and can be either accessed online or downloaded and printed. Please let us know what you think of the guides by filling in the survey on the online version. 

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