Informant History in Primary Care

Stemming from the award of the John Fleetwood Medal at the IGS in Killarney as a student, we gained important exposure for on our on-going research on cognition in older people presenting to the emergency department.

One of the questions that several people at the conference had was around the role of the informant history (the topic of our oral presentation) in general practice and clinical settings other than the emergency department. This led us to work on a project looking at the informant history in primary care and we have since collaborated with General Practitioner colleagues in Dublin, Kildare and Cork in order to carry out a national survey of Irish GPs.

We presented this work at the following year's IGS in 2017 and it was well received and we have since been able to publish the full manuscript in the Irish Journal of Medical Science.

Another conversation which we had with several people at the conference in 2016 was around the appropriate work-up and investigation of older people presenting to the emergency department. On one of the slides we noted that older people often received the label "acopia" in busy emergency departments (an ageist and pejorative term meaning 'inability to cope') when they are experiencing functional difficulties or difficulties in their activities of daily living.

With another group here in St James's Hospital (a different institution - we carried out our original research in Tallaght Hospital), we have been able to examine the true complexity of older adults whom are labelled as such and demonstrated the unhelpful and pejorative nature of this term. This research has just recently been accepted as a paper in Age and Ageing.

The support of the IGS, the conversations had at the conference the previous two years and the exposure gained have been instrumental in the success of these projects

Dr Adam Dyer, Intern NCHD, St James's Hospital, Dublin 8