Many geriatricians have, in addition to the broad spectrum of expertise in medicine in older patients, chosen to practice or research specific clinical and management areas. Special Interest Groups include Bladder & Bowel Health, Community Geriatrics, Dementia and Related Mental Health Disorders, Diabetes, Drugs and Prescribing, Epilepsy, Ethics and Law, Frailty and Sarcopenia, Gastroenterology/Nutrition, Specialist Nurses, Geriatric Oncology, Pain in older people, The proactive care of older people undergoing surgery (PoPs), Telecare/Telehealth. Sections are groups with close ties to external bodies. These include Cardiovascular, Falls and Bone Health, and Movement Disorders sections. SIGs and Sections either hold their own annual scientific meetings or feature in parallel sessions at the Society’s UK meetings.
The SIGs and Sections respond to government consultation documents, and publish guidelines and policy statements. For example: the Diabetes SIG produced guidelines on how to manage older people with diabetes, entitled, ‘Unified Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Diabetes’; the Drugs & Prescribing SIG has run national training sessions on clinical pharmacology for junior doctors; the Gastroenterology & Nutrition SIG has held a popular symposium on under-nutrition in acute illness; the Ethics and Law SIG offered advice to the Lord Chancellor’s Department on legislation covering mental incapacity.
The presence of the SIGs and Sections, which include physicians, scientists and allied health professionals from outside the Society has enabled the Society to offer advice to government agencies, drawing on a wide range of expertise. They serve as the Society’s source of clinical innovation, deriving and maintaining high standards of clinical care, and disseminating specialist knowledge.
Established in 2017, this SIG deals with the disorders that may arise in the older person with anaemia.
Bladder & Bowel Health SIG
This includes popular clinical guidelines on incontinence
Promotes links with the British Cardiac Society and other medical societies with a cardiac interest.
Community Geriatrics (SIG)
This section deals with frailty and the management of long-term conditions. Much of the BGS dignity campaigns are done under the auspices of this SIG.
The Section is constitutionally part of the British Geriatrics Society, but is affiliated to the Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (FOAP).
This SIG aims to draw together, identify and co-ordinate expertise and interest in the field of diabetes amongst members of the Group. It includes the popular guideline: Management of Diabetes in Older People.
Drugs and Prescribing (Section)
This section brings together those interested in practice and research in the field of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics of ageing. One of its long standing officers, Sinead O'Mahony has been involved in lobbying for the inclusion of older people in clinical trials
Epilepsy in Older People (SIG)
Epilepsy is the third most common neurological condition in older people. People over the age of 65 years experience the highest incidence of first seizures and the incidence of epilepsy continues to rise sharply with increasing age, yet it is one of the most misdiagnosed and under-treated conditions affecting older people.
Ethics and Law (SIG)
This section seeks to provide a forum within the Society for constructive and informed debate on moral issues. It informs BGS policy on matters which have an ethical dimension, e.g. consultation on privately funded drugs and NHS care.
Falls and Bone Health (Section)
This popular section draws together act as a focus for multidisciplinary interest and expertise on fall prevention and bone health and to interface with other relevant organisations.
Frailty and Sarcopenia Research (SIG)
Sarcopenia has emerged as a key topic in geriatric medicine and represents a rapidly expanding field of research. Sarcopenia is inextricably linked with frailty, and identification and treatment of both these conditions is likely to go hand in hand. It therefore makes sense to use a joined up approach to research and practice for sarcopenia and frailty – hence the rationale for bringing them together in this new SIG. The new SIG has two key aims:
To promote research in sarcopenia and frailty with the aim of improving identification, understanding, prevention and treatment of these conditions
To disseminate best practice and improve care for patients with sarcopenia and frailty
We need your help to do this. Whether it is by recruiting to clinical trials, contributing to observational research, sharing your innovative local practice or helping test new measurement tools, we will improve care most effectively by joining together and collaborating. Joining the Frailty and Sarcopenia Research SIG will ensure that we can undertake effective, relevant research, and translate that research into clinical practice with a minimum of delay.
This section provides a focus for those in elderly care who have a particular interest in gastro-enterological and nutritional problems.
Movement Disorders (Section)
Formerly known as the Parkinson's Disease Section, this Section now covers Multiple System Atrophy, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Corticobasal Degeneration, Essential Tremor, Dystonia and other related disorders. It is also under auspices of this section, that the increasingly popular Parkinson's Masterclasses are held.
The BGS Oncogeriatrics (or Geriatric Oncology) Group was inaugurated in 2015. Membership is open to any doctor, nurse or allied health professional with an interest in cancer in older age.
This SIG was launched in July 2015. It has affiliation with the British Pain Society which whom it has collaborated in developing important guidelines in the assessment and management of pain in older people. It has also published an extensive supplement of the Age & Ageing journal, on the management of pain in older people.
This SIG was launched in March 2012 against a background of increasing numbers of older people undergoing and benefiting from surgery. The object of the group is to encourage research and models of care which improve outcomes by optimising physical, psychosocial and functional well-being, prior to and following surgery, in older surgical patients.
The BGS Telecare, telehealth and telemedicine special interest group exists to to share experiences and proposals and analyse evidence within the rapidly evolving area of telemedicine. In particular, the Society seeks to ensure that older people are not adversely affected by a clinical decision-making process in which people receive a technology-centred treatment pathway without reference to their clinical ability to benefit.
The BGS does not have a Stroke special interest group. Many members of the BGS with a special interest, or sub-specialty in stroke however, are also members of the British Association of Stroke Physicians (BASP).