Learning together - collaborative case discussion between GPs and Old Age Psychiatrists

9 September 2021

Joint RCGP/Faculty webinar: Learning Together – a collaborative case discussion between GPs and Old Age Psychiatrists

Purpose of webinar

The aim of the webinar was to offer the opportunity for participants from primary care and psychiatry to learn together. The panellists worked through a case (based on experiences of the webinar presenters) to illustrate the complexity of managing an older person with mental-physical comorbidity and emphasising the importance of understanding the perspectives of older adults. As well as referral to IAPT (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), the role of the third sector including Age UK. A video, aimed at older adults, explaining the link between low mood and self-harm and suicide.

Role of Primary Care

Suhana Ahmed (Consultant Psychiatrist, Tolworth Hospital, SW London, and St George’s Mental Health Trust) and Carolyn Chew-Graham (GP in Manchester and Professor of General Practice Research at Keele University) discussed the importance of identifying and managing anxiety and depression (which are often comorbid) in older adults. The impact of depression on outcomes of long-term conditions was stressed, and the role of all members of the primary care team who support older adults.

Ruth Thompson, a GP in Manchester, talked about how to assess risk in primary care consultations and identified key resources and Suhana advised about when the crisis team might be indicated.

Role of Psychiatry

Ruth and Tony Rao (Consultant Psychiatrist Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist and visiting Clinical Research Fellow at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust/Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience) discussed the importance of recognising, often hidden, alcohol misuse in older adults and highlighted a few resources.

Hazel Everitt (GP in Southampton and Professor of Primary Care at the University of Southampton) gave advice on managing sleep problems - a common concern presented in primary care. Santhana Krishnana (Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry/Liaison Psychiatry and Chair, Faculty of Old Age Psychiatry, Royal College of Psychiatrists) described the link between pain and insomnia and how specialist care can offer support to primary care clinicians in managing older adults with complex multimorbidity and insomnia.

Resources to support management with insomnia and sleep hygiene:

There are more resources available on the RCGP Mental Health toolkit

We believe that we met our aim of facilitating learning across the specialties of primary care and psychiatry and we hope that this will be the first webinar of many.

Post written by

Carolyn Chew-Graham - GP in Manchester and Professor of General Practice Research at Keele University

Suhana Ahmed - Consultant Psychiatrist, Tolworth Hospital, SW London, and St George’s Mental Health Trust

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