The BGS blog aims to present issues relevant to people working to improve the health and care of older people. It will highlight the latest news and activities from across all the BGS campaigns, events, publications and activities as well as original articles commissioned by leaders in geriatric medicine.
We have an exciting range of guest bloggers and welcome news and commentary on geriatric medicine from all those working in the field of older people's healthcare in the UK and abroad. Read our guidelines on submitting a blog for more details.
All content is moderated by our Blog Editors. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily of the British Geriatrics Society.
Speakers Series: Sail her up the West Coast
Despite Prof. Bernard Isaacs (a fellow Scot) naming incontinence as one of the geriatric giants in the 1960s (along with immobility, instability, and impaired intellect/memory), it was still a topic that, decades later, was not taught (at least not well enough to recollect) during my undergraduate days. Speaking to care of the elderly registrars, this is largely unchanged. It wasn’t until I started working as a registrar for (the fantastic) Vikky Morris at Musgrove Park Hospital that I gained insight to issues that those with continence problems face. Having Vikky as an enthusiastic teacher really helped pique my interest in bowel and bladder health.
Ageing, Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke: Time to focus on multimorbidity and exercise interventions
I chose a career in geriatric medicine, and latterly in stroke, as I was fascinated by the challenges of managing people with multiple medical problems and was in awe of how my consultant colleagues used their skills to provide holistic, person-centred care. Now that I am a consultant myself, the challenges of managing older people with stroke and other complex medical problems continue to fascinate me. Every day I learn something new.
Why I… work in hospital at home
I knocked on the door. From behind the entrance Alan appeared weary and yet relieved to see a familiar face. I sat down with him and revisited our meeting a week prior when he came to see me complaining of widespread joint pain and weight loss for which no cause had been identified by the hospital specialists. He was known to have Rheumatoid Arthritis amongst multiple other conditions and was attending to discuss what could be the cause as he was now becoming frail, tired and perplexed at why he wasn’t improving.
Training the future doctors in Hospital at Home: the Integrated Care Fellows Training Programme
With the national agenda to create virtual wards has come an increasing demand to develop Hospital at Home (hospital@home, H@H) services. Guys and St Thomas’ H@H, operational since 2014, “takes the ward to the patient’s home”.
Gerontology for Geriatricians – with Style
One of the key challenges of being a geriatrician is to be able to gain a sense of the wider perspective of ageing. Although geriatricians and gerontological nurses are the gerontologists who have the most day-to-day contact with older people, this is often with those who are frail and living with multimorbidity.
Running for Richard and AgeUK
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the work of AgeUK is more important than ever. Older people have been more likely to develop COVID-19, more likely to become severely unwell or disabled as a consequence of COVID-19 and have been the group most affected by social isolation.
Empowering better end-of-life care for people with dementia
New research from King’s College London found that people living with dementia experience higher levels of unplanned hospital admissions towards the end of life compared with the period immediately following their dementia diagnosis. The study found that 40% of all unplanned hospital admissions after a diagnosis of dementia took place in the last year of life.
Memorable Event: me and my handwriting
Writing is a form of communication. Hence, from a very young age onwards, there is an emphasis on having good handwriting. We are taught how to write capital letters, lowercase letters and then how to join them up, beautifying them and making them legible.
Playlist for Life
Dementia Action Week is 16-22 May and the theme this year is diagnosis. For me things have become more personal with a close family member just having received a diagnosis of dementia. To say it’s hard is an understatement and it certainly feels a very far cry from the call for people to ‘live well’ with dementia. There’s no getting away from the negative aspects around the time of diagnosis of dementia, but it’s not long before positives need to be found. And for me, and my family, that has been trying to keep as many aspects of life as accessible and constant as possible. One of those, and something that can bring much joy in life, is listening to music.
Long-term lifestyle behaviors of older women with exceptional episodic memory
More than 100 years after its discovery, Alzheimer's disease (AD) has become one of the greatest medical and social challenges of our generation.
From Bulawayo to Leicester, how continuous education informs professional practice
My journey started in September 2000, on a lonely long-haul flight from the city of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, coming to England for an interview at De Montfort University Nursing School in Leicester.
On International Nurses Day, leadership matters
Leadership has played a pivotal role in setting out my main priorities as vice-chair of the BGS Nurses and AHP council. My goal has been delivering high- quality person centred care for the older population. Nursing leadership is most successful when the entire team is also successful. To achieve this, I have a key role in influencing and engaging all members of the healthcare team to drive and improve healthcare for older adults.
Following the road less travelled from accountant to academic nurse
Leaving university at 22, my only aim was to be paid well and I planned to achieve this by training as a Chartered Accountant. My aim was met, but over the years, I found the work as an auditor unsatisfying. A career break to care for my three young children resulted in me deciding to train as a nurse. My first staff nurse job was on a healthcare of the older person ward. The ward had a high proportion of patients with dementia. I had received no training on how to care for these patients’ complex needs during my nursing diploma and none was offered post-qualification.
Nurses voice to lead delivering global healthcare for older people
I’ll let you into a secret; I have a vested interest in international nurses- I raised one. My daughter was born in Tanzania, and is now a primary care nurse. I hope you can tell how proud I am of her.
Planning for dying
Future care plan discussions must become a mandatory part of patient care in any healthcare setting. These discussions must start early, at the time of chronic illness diagnoses, and not when the patient is wheeled into intensive care or about to arrest. Only by doing so will we be able to provide personalised care to our patients.
Just call me Aude - why end of life care matters
On a post-take ward round before Easter, I met a 97-year-old retired priest. Recently she had been in hospital for three weeks after a fall and fractured pubic ramus.
Who wants geriatric medicine?
Geriatric medicine remains a Cinderella speciality. Increasingly, super-specialisation demands that heart failure is referred to a cardiologist, cancer to an oncologist and dementia to a psychiatrist. Geriatricians have been at the forefront of confronting ageism, but care by geriatricians can be seen as second best. Yet super-specialists, who can be fantastic at managing problems in the non-frail, can be less good than geriatricians when managing the same problems in the context of multimorbidity, disability and frailty. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, epidemiologists and intensivists were asked what to do. Even when it was clear that older people were most affected, no one thought to ask geriatricians, initially at least.
My Fellowship Journey: Doing What l Value
I have reached that point in my PhD when everyone is asking me me “when is your PhD ending?”. I’m about halfway through and I’m enjoying it. I’m not wishing it away just yet!
United We Stand: supporting refugees
We know that there will be significant health needs because of the war in Ukraine and that older adults will be at particular risk of adverse outcomes from environmental exposure, lack of basic resources, and delays in healthcare provision.