A summary of the BGS Scotland Spring Meeting 2021

Clare Bostock is a Geriatrician in Aberdeen. Here she discussed the BGS Scotland Spring Meeting 2021 which is available on demand until 17 June 2022.

The leadership and enthusiasm of the BGS Scotland Council, along with the support of the BGS conference team, ensured that the BGS Scotland Spring Meeting was back on the calendar for 2021. The virtual programme was delivered via the Swapcard platform on the afternoon of 16th June, with poster presentations available to view all day.  

We started with Dr Shona Methven, Consultant Nephrologist, speaking on shared decision-making for people living with dementia and advanced kidney disease. We learnt of the overlapping risk factors between cerebrovascular disease and renal disease, and the possible burdens of renal replacement therapy. A case study aptly demonstrated the key learning points. Continuing with person-centred care in dementia, Lyn Pirie, Alzheimer Scotland Nurse Consultant, clearly outlined 10 Dementia Care Actions. We were reminded of the effectiveness of simple actions, such as using the Getting to Know Me document.

The keynote speech was delivered by BGS President, Dr Jennifer Burns. This was a concise, yet extremely thorough overview of COVID-19 covering everything from care homes to vaccinations to human rights. It was also encouraging to hear how the BGS has grown and developed, and a reminder for us to share the benefits of membership with all colleagues. Have you joined a BGS Special Interest Group yet?

The meeting showcased seventeen high-quality posters and two platform presentations. The winning poster presentation was “The ‘POPS’ team reduces length of stay and mortality in older surgical patients” by John M Bayram, Deepa Rangar, Dimitrios Damaskos, Julie Dikiciyan and Irene Smith from the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. The platform presentations on “Anticipatory Care Planning in the Dundee Hospital at Home Service – improving the primary/secondary care interface” and “Reducing Stress and Distress in the Older Population During the Coronavirus Pandemic” were equally superb, such that the judges jointly awarded the Taylor Brown prize to Dr S Leung, Dundee, and Dr Kirsty Wallace, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.

Professor Graham Ellis, National Clinical Advisor for Ageing and Health, provided a comprehensive update on Community Geriatrics. It will be exciting to see further developments in Community Geriatrics over the next ten years as predicted by Prof Ellis. Next, Dr Roy Soiza shared the ScoOP - the latest findings of the Scottish Care of Older People (ScoOP) project’s acute hospitals report. From this collaborative work, we were presented with data on admissions, length of stay, mortality, readmissions and case-mix, across different units in Scotland. By understanding and comparing variation in acute care of older people across Scotland, we can work towards sharing stories and ideas for improvement. Take a look at the report to find out the ScoOP in your unit.

The final session focused on our wellbeing and support, with the shared expertise of Dr Hans Hartung, Respiratory Physician, and Dr Julie Gordon, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, both from NHS Ayrshire and Arran. Dr Hartung described peer support in detail. I liked this defining feature: “peer support combats the culture of invulnerability”. Dr Gordon then explained how their peer support team was able to rapidly grow and develop, providing confidential peer support with 24-hour cover from June 2020. I certainly find comfort in support from peers and from being part of the BGS.

On reflection, it’s incredible how much can be covered in an afternoon: from kidneys to the brain, from acute care to the community, and from supporting older people to supporting each other. With many thanks to the speakers and everyone else involved in making this event a success.


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