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New resource to help doctors care for the frail elderly

Professor John Young today welcomed a new online resource launched by the General medical Council aimed at supporting doctors in their day-to-day care of older patients.

The new resource gives practical advice from leading clinicians on how to put older patients first and use GMC guidance to handle their clinical, emotional and psychological needs.

At the core of the resource is a series of videos featuring interviews with older patients. Their experiences of dealing with doctors, from feeling that they have been pushed aside because of their age to the importance of seeing the same doctor, helps put the GMC’s guidance into context and is a strong reminder of the importance of placing the patient at the centre of care.

The resource also contains a mixture of guidance, case studies, scenarios, articles and tips to prepare doctors for caring for the growing number of older patients.

Professor Young, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for the Frail Elderly, said: “Doctors must be prepared to play their part in a modern health care system that provides skilful, compassionate and joined-up care for people who have a multitude of health conditions. It is good to see the GMC is doing work to support doctors in this area.”

And writing in a blog posted today on the GMC website, Professor Young adds: “Older people are not a category separate from their fellow citizens. They equally value good health, wellbeing and independence. But increasing age brings the twin threats of multiple long-term conditions – the majority of people over 70 have two or more chronic conditions – along with a greater risk of frailty, which affects one in ten people over 65 and up to half of people aged over 80.

“Our health and care system is undergoing fundamental changes to address these issues. Patient groups have come together under an umbrella organisation called National Voices. They have made clear arguments for a more joined-up, integrated system – these views are now embedded at the heart of new delivery expectations for health and social care.”

The GMC has worked closely with partner organisations, including the British Geriatrics Society and Age UK, to create Better care for older people.

At the core of the resource is a series of videos featuring interviews with older patients. Their experiences of dealing with doctors, from feeling that they have been pushed aside because of their age to the importance of seeing the same doctor, helps put the GMC’s guidance into context and is a strong reminder of the importance of placing the patient at the centre of care.

The resource also contains a mixture of guidance, case studies, scenarios, articles and tips to prepare doctors for caring for the growing number of older patients.

Professor Young adds: “Over 65s make up over two thirds of NHS patients in the UK and there are now more people living with complex, and multiple, long-term conditions than ever. Clinicians need to be able to respond clearly, effectively and compassionately to their needs, and this new GMC resource will help them support patients in being active participants in their own care.”

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