Geriatric medicine and geriatricians in the UK. How they relate to acute and general internal medicine and what the future might hold.
Writing for the Future Hospital Journal, David Oliver and Eileen Burns say: The Royal College of Physicians and its Future Hospitals Commission has a renewed focus on general internal medicine. But in 2015, most is in effect either acute medicine or geriatric medicine. Acute physicians and ‘organ specialists’ looking after inpatients on specialty wards or at the acute hospital
‘front door’ will need sufﬁcient skills in geriatric medicine, rehabilitation, discharge planning and palliative care, as frailty, dementia and complex comorbidities may complicate the care of older patients with predominant speciality-deﬁning complaints. In an era where we are urged to focus on patient-centred care, patients’ preference for continuity and ‘whole-stay’, consultants must be recognised and respected. Ideally, this will require increasing numbers of geriatricians and acute physicians, more age attuned training for all; a shift in values and status. This should be backed by adequate capacity and rapid access to social and intermediate care services outside hospital, as well as adequate multidisciplinary staff and
skills within the acute hospital to ensure that older patients’ needs beyond the immediate complaints are not neglected. Meanwhile, geriatric medicine itself has diversiﬁed into specialised, community and interface roles, aligned with the integration agenda, and continues to contribute substantially to acute, general and stroke medicine.