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Therapists Study Grant

Download the application here (MS Word format)

The Society offers a limited number of grants of up to £300 to members of the British Geriatrics Society who are qualified therapists (and therapists in training recognised by their Association or College) with an expressed special interest in the care of older patients to:

  • attend conferences, seminars and meetings of an innovative nature which will enhance their understanding and appreciation of the special needs of older patients; and/or
  • visit a geriatric ward which has an innovative service approach, special programme or project for the care of older patients.

The primary purpose of the scheme is to provide a source of funds enabling at least one therapist of a multidisciplinary teams to be exposed to innovative educational experiences relevant to the special needs of older patients.

The grants are available to members of the British Geriatrics Society who are qualified therapists or therapists still in training who have an expressed special interest in the care of older patients, irrespective of professional affiliation. Grants are administered by the Society's Education and Training Committee.

There are no fixed categories of grant. However, the following examples provide some indication of the kind of support which will be considered.

  • Registration fees and travelling expenses (by public transport) to conferences, seminars and meetings; and
  • travelling expenses and accommodation costs for professional visits.
    Grants will not be made where funding is available from another source nor to part-fund a diploma, certificate, degree course or other long-term study experiences.

How to apply
Applications, accompanied by the relevant documentation, are considered at any time of year, provided there are funds available. Decisions are usually made within 5-6 weeks, therefore please allow sufficient time before the study experience/visit to submit applications. Download the application here (MS Word format). Should you have any enquiries, contact the grants manager on . Please note that applications from applicants who are not members of the BGS will not be considered.


Conditions of Award

  1. The Education and Training Committee of the British Geriatrics Society (BGS) is available to provide help and guidance in preparation of applications.
  2. Applicants need to be members of the British Geriatrics Society
  3. Applicants must seek confirmation from their superior and Consultant Geriatrician (if applicable) that the conference, seminar, meeting or study visit requested is innovative and will enhance their understanding and appreciation of the special needs of older patients.
  4. Applicants must obtain approval from their relevant training and employing authorities to attend.
  5. Applicants must confirm that funds are not available from other sources for the purposes intended.
  6. The grant must be used solely for the purpose set out in the application as approved by the Education and Training Committee.
  7. Within the limits of the total budget, the spending should conform broadly to the original estimate, unless changes are agreed with the Education and Training Committee. At the end of the grant period, any remaining balance, where applicable, must be returned to the Society, unless approval has been given otherwise.
  8. Any changes in the study experience, as agreed by the Education and Training Committee, must be reported to the BGS.
  9. Any support of the study experience from other sources must be made known to the Education and Training Committee.
  10. Within two months of the study experience, recipients must return to the BGS an evaluation document, providing a brief report on their learning experience and the benefits gained (see document entitled ‘Evaluation’ attached and answer the questions asked). The evaluation document will then be submitted to the BGS Education and Training Committee.
  11. In the case of exceptional reports of experiences, the Society may discuss with the recipient possible publication and/or dissemination of the results to wider audiences within the geriatric medicine community.
  12. Acknowledgement of the Society’s grant should be made in any publication resulting from the study experience.
  13. These Conditions of Award may be subject to change at the discretion of the BGS Education and Training Committee.


I have trained as a physiotherapist but am currently employed as an Extended Scope Practitioner for the Older Person Assessment and Liaison Service (OPALS), working alongside a Geriatrician, providing comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) to elderly hospitalised patients who are at risk of functional decline.

The older person with acute illness often presents with vague “geriatric syndromes” such as “off feet” or acute confusion, which can hide many diagnoses, ranging from constipation to stroke.  It is this cohort of older people who are referred to OPALS for further assessment of the geriatric syndromes and management advice, and to assess for rehabilitation potential. It is important to identify any occult barriers to rehabilitation that may not be initially apparent, e.g. underlying neurology, musculoskeletal problems, altered bowel habits, depression, delirium etc. Therefore OPALS practitioner’s ability to competently conduct a comprehensive health assessment of the older person, both subjectively and objectively is very important. 

By undertaking this “Health Assessment Module” I have advanced my clinical examination skills in areas outside my usual field of practice (physiotherapy) within the context of a geriatric assessment.  From better clinical understanding of observations to learning new skills; from simple nursing tasks such as manual blood pressure readings and pulse-taking as part of the falls assessment, to performing an abdominal assessment with patients who have had no bowel movement for days, and cranial nerve assessment in those with new neurology. 

Completing this course has made me more confident overall with my history-taking and clinical examination to be able to present findings to the geriatrician or medical team, helping the earlier identification of seemingly minor ailments that can have huge effects on a frail older patients function and ability to rehabilitate. 

I would recommend this type of Health Assessment course to any therapist that is working with elderly patients (particularly in an OPALS role), as it greatly assists with clinical reasoning particularly when questioning why a person’s ability to function or cognitive state has suddenly deteriorated and encourages us be more confident when alerting the appropriate medical staff to our findings.

Sorcha McGaughey


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