1Ib beefsteak, with 1 pt bitter beer every six hours...
Pandora Wright is a Consultant in Elderly Medicine, Charing Cross Hospital, Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust.
“1Ib beefsteak, with 1 pt bitter beer every six hours. 1 ten-mile walk every morning. 1 bed at 11 sharp every night. And don’t stuff your head with things you don’t understand.” (Jerome K Jerome: Three men in a boat)
With no NICE or SIGN guideline on the management of anaemia and iron deficiency in older people, we determine our own management plans and pathways.
Anaemia is common in older people, accounting for 10 per cent of over 65’s, rising to up to 30 per cent of over 85 year olds. Its presence in this age group is associated with frailty, falls and significantly impacts on survival, quality of life and hospital admission and readmission rates.
It is poorly assessed or not investigated for many. Anaemia in older people is complex. Complex in determining its often multi-causality, the invariable presence of confounding factors and diseases. There is complexity in navigating through multi-setting referrals and management pathways which are dependent on local expertise, knowledge and priority. There is no single referral pathway. There is even complexity in consistently defining a diagnosis and treatment threshold. Anaemia and iron deficiency are potentially modifiable conditions.
It’s time to gather and co-ordinate a consensus of experts in the field of anaemia and iron deficiency, to promote high quality research and facilitate networking of researchers, stakeholders and policy makers.
It’s time to make anaemia a focus in current healthcare policy and to establish a standardised pathway for management of anaemia and iron deficiency in older people.
It’s time for geriatricians to “own” management of anaemia and iron deficiency in older people.
It’s time for a new “SIG” at the BGS… The BGS Anaemia Special Interest Group! See you there. Beefsteaks and bitter optional!