Top 10 most-read BGS blogs of 2021

27 December 2021

Sarah Mistry is Chief Executive of the BGS. She tweets at @SarahMistryBGS.

At the end of another extraordinary and challenging year, we’ve been looking back over a year of BGS blog publication. Over the course of 2021, 66 blogs have been published on the BGS website. These represent the work of diverse authors and cover a wide variety of topics, from the weighty to the philosophical. We thought you would enjoy this compilation of the ten most-read blogs published by the BGS during 2021.

More care for older people is being delivered closer to home with new community services being established and more alternatives to hospital admission. In their blog, George Jacobs and Leslie Roberts talk about hospital care delivered at home through the Community Rapid Intervention Service Team in North Staffordshire. It’s an example of an effective community-based service that responds to older people’s urgent care needs, as described in the BGS report: Right time, right place: urgent community-based care for older people.

One of the alarming developments of the year has been the workforce challenges in all parts of the system. In particular, the shortage of care workers in domiciliary care and care homes has meant that older people who are medically fit for discharge have been trapped in hospital for want of a care package to enable them to return home. Read the heart-breaking story of Emily and Lammy in David Attwood’s blog, which was the second in our #BGSTimely Discharge blog series. Sara Hazzard’s blog was the sixth in the same series, highlighting the critical importance of rehabilitation as part of an older person’s recovery. Along with Age UK, Care England, the National Care Forum, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy and Independent Age, we wrote an open letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, urging him to act swiftly on the pay, terms and conditions of those working in social care. Such action would help to stem the exodus of workers from the care system and to alleviate the harms of delayed discharge from hospital for older people and the knock-on effects right across the system.

COVID-19 continues to compound the huge pressure on acute, primary and community care. There are three COVID-related blogs in our top ten. Adam Gordon’s blog describes the heavy toll of COVID on care home residents, and the importance of research in developing and evaluating preventative measures and treatments that modify the course of COVID-19 in older people with advanced frailty. During the year, the BGS guidance on managing Covid in care homes was updated, and we published a report on care home medicine, Ambitions for change: Improving healthcare in care homes. Matthias Schlogl writes about the vital importance of good communication with care home residents, despite the barrier created by wearing a mask. And Krishanti Sathanadan describes the lasting effects of COVID on older people living with frailty, arguing that ‘long COVID’ in older people can often be overlooked.

Two blogs in our top ten remind us of the importance of ongoing learning and development, even when healthcare professionals are working in such a pressured environment. Shibley Rahman describes the process of putting together a new book of questions to help trainees prepare for the Specialty Certificate Examination (SCE). Abdelmugeet Hassan offers an intriguing illustration of using a stethoscope to detect the ‘helicopter sign’.

Sadly, mental ill-health is on the rise among older people, exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. In their blog, Scott Murray and Niall Campbell discuss the signs of depression and describe training, screening and treatment options. And on a lighter note, the BGS Digital Media Editor, Charlotte Squires , shares some reflections about the residents of a fictional care home from an online meeting of the BGS #GeriBookClub. Do join us online at 8pm on February 8th 2022 to discuss ‘Ammonites and Leaping Fish’ by Penelope Lively.

The BGS two workforce reports, Through the Visor 1 and 2, describe the emotional and psychological toll on healthcare professionals looking after older people through the pandemic, and the end is not yet in sight. As we pass the 21-month mark since the pandemic began, the BGS would like to pay tribute to its dedicated and hard-working members for their commitment to high-quality, person-centred care for older people. We hope you enjoy at least some downtime over the festive period and our heartfelt thanks to those who are working. Please take a few minutes to look back over the diverse blogs that have educated and inspired us during 2021 and do contact us if you have a blog to share for 2022.



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