Category Archives: Research

Frailsafe: A new checklist for the acute care of frail older people

Professor Tom Downes is  consultant geriatrician and has expertise in the design of acute interface geriatric care. He is the Clinical Lead for Quality Improvement at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals. Saira Ghafur is a Quality Improvement and Leadership Fellow and Respiratory Registrar at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. Reblogged from the British Geriatrics Society blog.

‘Something as mundane as a checklist can be a powerful tool for simplifying the complexity of the world and, in the context of medical procedures, save lives’ Atul Gawande 2010

FrailSafe

International studies have indicated that approximately 10% of all patients who are admitted to hospital suffer some form of adverse event (AE)- defined as an unintended harm to a patient resulting in injury, death or a prolonged admission.  Older people are more likely to suffer AEs and the consequences of these are often more severe in frail, older patients. Continue reading

The more you study, the later you drop – Education and terminal cognitive decline

Graciela Muniz-Terrera is a Senior Investigator Scientist at the MRC Lifelong Health and Ageing Unit at UCL. Reblogged from the British Geriatrics Society Blogshutterstock_21757213

The terminal decline hypothesis suggests an acceleration of rate of cognitive decline before death, although information about the onset of faster decline is inconsistent and varies by ability examined. The identification of factors that may delay such onset is crucial for policy implementation, as such delay would imply that individuals spend a shorter period of time in the fast declining stages of life. Education is a modifiable risk factor usually considered as a proxy for cognitive reserve that has been shown to be associated with cognitive function and, in a few American studies, has also been shown to be associated with a later onset of pre-clinical dementia. Continue reading

Award Winning Telehealth

Chief Executive of Airedale NHS Foundation Trust; Bridget Fletcher discusses how this Yorkshire Hospital is delivering unique, new and bespoke video consultation services to support patients in their own home and preventing unnecessary admissions to ED and inpatient beds. Reblogged from the British Geriatrics Society blogtelehealth

Overburdened A&E departments and hospital wards full to capacity are almost daily news items currently.  It is likely that the individual human stories behind those news items involve very many people over the age of 65 living with one or more long term conditions.  In fact statisticians tell us around 70% of our NHS resources in general are spent caring for patients living with long term conditions, much of which is re-active care rather than proactive. Continue reading

November issue of Age and Ageing journal out now

Reblogged from the BGS Blog

The November 2013 issue of Age and Ageing, the journal of the British Geriatrics Society is out now.

full table of contents is available here, with editorials, research papers, reviews, short reports, case reports book reviews and more. Hot topics this issue include:

  • Screening for dementia
  • Cancer screening in later life
  • Diagnostic accuracy of temperature measurement
  • Dysphagia in patients with hip fracture
  • The Cochrane Collaboration and Geriatric Medicine

The Editor’s Pick can be read here.

This issue’s free access papers are:

Too old to drink? At risk drinking in over-75s

Prof Margda Waern, psychiatrist and professor at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg. This has been re-blogged from the British Geriatrics Society blogdrinker

Health benefits related to mild to moderate alcohol consumption include better cardiac and cerebrovascular health, decreased risk of dementia and improved quality of life. This might help to explain why we are nowadays less likely to discontinue drinking as we age. There may, however, be a down side. Over-consumption of alcohol can increase risk of cognitive impairment, self-neglect and falls. Considering this, it is surprising that we know so little about the extent to which older people engage in potentially harmful drinking.

I was part of a group of researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden who set out to study at-risk alcohol consumption in older people.  We did this using data from two long-running surveys on health and ageing: theH70 study and the Prospective Population Study of Women.  We compared at-risk drinking in two groups of 75-year-olds: 303 persons born in 1901, and 753 born three decades later in 1930. Participants were asked about their intake of beer, wine and spirits; at-risk drinking was defined as ≥ 100g/week (corresponding roughly to more than 2 drinks/day). We found at-risk drinking in 19% of men who took part in the mid-seventies study, compared with 27% of those who participated in 2005. There was a tenfold increase in at-risk drinking in women, from 0.6 % in 1976 to 10% in 2005.

We concluded that alcohol consumption has changed markedly in 75 year olds, especially in women. It is important to note that the study was set in Scandinavia, where gender differences may be less pronounced than in other parts of Europe. Studies are needed in varied settings in order to evaluate the health implications of changing trends in alcohol consumption in later life.

The full paper can be read in Age and Ageing today.

It is not always easy to be a geriatrician

Ekdahl.jpg

Anne Ekdahl is a geriatrician at the Vrinnevihospital in Sweden and the president of the Swedish Association of Geriatric Medicine.

As in many other countries in Europe it is not always easy to be a geriatrician. I came back from the EUGMS 2013 Congress in Venice full of power, spirit and pride in being a geriatrician: and then it was suddenly back to reality. Continue reading