GMC elderly care advice for GPs stresses importance of continuity of care

GPs need to adapt the care they provide to meet the 'clinical, emotional and psychological needs' of growing numbers of older patients, the GMC has warned.

Older patient: GMC advice stresses continuity is key (Photo: Jim Varney)
Older patient: GMC advice stresses continuity is key (Photo: Jim Varney)

An online tool launched by the regulator, the Better care of older people resource, contains advice, case studies and scenarios to help prepare doctors to care for older patients who often rely heavily on health services and can live with multiple long-term conditions.

The tool aims to help equip doctors with the skills they need to handle the specific needs of these patients. In a series of video interviews, older patients recount their experiences dealing with doctors, say what is important to them when receiving care, and air concerns.

Patients stress the importance of seeing the same doctor for each visit and how they can sometimes be made to feel sidelined because of their age.

The GMC says the resource should help put its guidance into context and ‘remind doctors of the importance of placing the patient at the centre of care’.

People over the age of 65 currently make up over two thirds of NHS patients in the UK.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘We know that care of older people in this country is too often not good enough. Doctors have a key role in devising and providing treatment, co-ordinating care and in overseeing the whole process.

‘We hope these learning materials will stimulate discussion and help to support doctors working with older people.

‘The reality is that most medical care is already centred around later life and in the future this is going to be even more the case. We already have examples of fantastic care - we all need to try and make sure this becomes the norm even in a healthcare system where resources are becoming increasingly tight.’

The British Geriatrics Society and Age UK worked closely with the GMC to develop the resource.

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