Changing Horizons in Gerontology: Improving Outcomes in Falls and Syncope in Older People

Changing Horizons in Gerontology: Improving Outcomes in Falls and Syncope in Older People

3 December 2020

Organised by: Irish Gerontological Society


Changing Horizons in Gerontology:

Improving Outcomes in Falls and Syncope in Older People

Thursday, December 3rd 15.00-16.30

Approved by RCPI with 2 CPD credits (Ref 1026)


The Irish Gerontological Society is grateful to Daiichi Sankyo for their  support of this online event by means of an unrestricted educational grant

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Dr Ruairi Waters, Consultant in Geriatric and Stroke Medicine at Galway University Hospital (GUH)

Our symposium on ‘Improving Outcomes in Falls and Syncope in Older People’ will provide an update on recent and emerging information, focusing on epidemiology, assessment and novel interventions for falls and syncope in older adults. The role of dedicated pathways for the investigation and treatment of falls and syncope is evaluated. Feasibility of establishing such a pathway in your hospital will also be reviewed in this symposium.

The confined home environment associated with ‘COVID cocooning’ and restricted movement has contributed to balance and mobility issues for our older adults. Limited access to physical exercise classes with subsequent reduced mobility significantly increases the fear of falling. Disruption in the provision of home supports during the pandemic will also contribute to an increased frequency of falls.

We are delighted to have such an expert panel which includes Dr Robert Briggs, Consultant Geriatrician from St James to discuss the management of falls and syncope in the Emergency Department. Sheila Ryan, Advanced Nurse Practitioner (ANP) in Falls and Syncope from University Hospital Limerick will discuss the role of the ANP in falls. Leigh Pelow, Senior Physiotherapist, St Vincent’s University Hospital will discuss the role of the physiotherapist in falls and dizziness. I will finish with a talk on ‘Falls and Syncope Presentations during the COVID pandemic’.


Moderators     Prof Rose Anne Kenny, Dr Dan Ryan

Welcome     Prof Rose Anne Kenny, President of the Irish Gerontological Society

The Management of Falls and Syncope in the Emergency Department     Dr Robert Briggs, Consultant Geriatrician, St James Hospital, Dublin

The Role of the Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Falls and Syncope     Sheila Ryan, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Falls and Syncope, University of Limerick Hospital Group

The Role of the Physiotherapist in Falls and Dizziness     Leigh Pelow, Senior Physiotherapist, Department of Geriatric Medicine, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin

Evolution of a Falls & Syncope Service in the COVID-19 Era     Dr Ruairi Waters, Consultant Geriatrician & Dr Maria Costello, SPR in Geriatric Medicine, Galway University Hospital

Panel Discussion with Q & A


Dr Ruairi Waters is a Consultant in Geriatric Medicine at Galway University Hospital. He has completed dual training in both geriatric medicine and general practice. He is currently clinical lead for the Falls & Syncope service at Galway University Hospital. He is Principal Investigator on a large Randomised Control Trial which is a community-based screening trial for atrial fibrillation. (R-BEAT).

Sheila Ryan is currently employed as an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Older Persons Services in the Department of Aging and Therapeutics, University Hospital Limerick. She began working in the department 16 years ago as a research nurse and developed an interest in syncope. Following completion of her MSc in University of Limerick she acquired a Clinical Nurse Specialist post in the department in 2014. In 2016, she completed the Higher Diploma in Advanced Nursing Practice through NUIG. Her clinical and research interests include falls, syncope and bone health.

Leigh Pelow is a senior physiotherapist working in older adult rehabilitation at St Vincent’s University Hospital.  Leigh currently works in inpatient frailty and day hospital services. 
Leigh recently graduated from RCSI with a masters in neurology and gerontology. She is passionate about education, interdisciplinary team working and making physical activity accessible for people of all ages.

Dr Maria Costello is a Specialist Registrar in Geriatric Medicine. She qualified from National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) in 2012. She is currently holding post as Clinical Lecturer in Geriatric Medicine/Research fellow in neurovascular medicine within the HRB-Clinical Research Facility NUIG. She is undertaking a PhD exploring households affected by cognitive impairment, with a focus on non-pharmacological strategies to improve cognitive reserve and caregiver health outcomes.


Professor Rose Anne Kenny holds the Chair of Medical Gerontology and is Head of the academic department of Medical Gerontology at Trinity College Dublin. Previously Professor of Cardiovascular Research and head of geriatric medicine at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Rose Anne is now director of Mercer’s Institute for Successful Ageing (MISA) at St. James’s Hospital Dublin. She is the founding Principal Investigator of Ireland’s largest adult population study on the experience of ageing in Ireland – for The Irish LongituDinal study on Ageing  (TILDA), now in its 12th year of data collection.

Prof Kenny has published over 600 scientific publications to date, including 440 research articles, 52 reviews, 4 textbooks and 57 book chapters. She is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy (M.R.I.A); Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (F.R.C.P.E.): London (F.R.C.P.), Ireland (F.R.C.P.I.); Fellow of Trinity College Dublin (F.T.C.D); Fellow if the European Society of Cardiology (F.E.S.C). She has over 50 medal awards and keynotes, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, WCFP, Kuala Lumpur 2019; Health Hero, The Irish Times, 2018; and Trinity Innovation Award, 2017.

Dan Ryan is a Consultant Geriatrician and Stroke Lead at Tallaght University Hospital. He has a PhD in stroke medicine and trained in King's Hospital in London.  In March 2020 he set up the COVID nursing home webinar series, in collaboration with AIIHPC, which was attended by 3500 nursing home staff over 13 lectures.

Diarmuid O’Shea is a Consultant Physician in Geriatric Medicine in St Vincent’s University Hospital and Registrar of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI).  He is a UCD medical graduate.  He was Clinical Lead for the National Clinical Programme for Older People with the HSE until 2019 and Chair of the Irish Committee on Higher Medical Training from 2017 to 2019.  He has held the position of Vice-President of Education and Professional Development in the RCPI and acted as the Masterclass Series Convenor in the RCPI since its inception in 2007.  He is immediate past president of the Irish Gerontological Society.

Recording of this event

00:25 Dr Ruairi Waters

11:25 Dr Maria Costello

21:00 Dr Robert Briggs

40:55 Shiela Ryan

57:00 Leigh Pelow

1:10:50 Panel with Q & A