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

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 discussed a scenario that was based on the experiences of the webinar presenters to highlight the value of understanding older individuals' viewpoints and to highlight the difficulty in treating an older person who has mental-physical comorbidity. 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 and Carolyn Chew-Graham 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, both clinical research fellows discussed the importance of recognising, often hidden, alcohol misuse in older adults and highlighted a few resources.

Hazel Everitt, a GP from Southampton, offered guidanc on treating sleep issues, a topic that frequently arises in Primary care.
The link between pain and insomnia was discussed by Santhana Krishnana, a Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry. He also discussed how primary care clinicians can benefit from specialist care when managing older patients with complicated 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.

About the writers

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.