IGS President's Update, 10th Feb 2021

Dear Colleagues

I’m writing to update you on a couple of forthcoming events and to commend the RTE program aired last night.

 RTE aired a moving presentation from Tallaght hospital on the impact of Covid-19. I think that Mike O’Connor, consultant geriatrician Cork university hospital and chair of the clinical advisory group for older persons in the RCPI summed it up perfectly: “An incredible program. Highlighting the devastation of Covid on patients and staff. The fear in patients eyes. The sadness of staff. The resilience of staff. End of life decisions. The chaplaincy service. ITU team. The nurses with marks on face from PPE. The EM team. The NAS team. The Geriatricians. The cleaners. The porters. The lab staff. The pre-existing frailty of the health service. It knocked numbers and daily press briefings off the pitch. It's all about the one. The one patient/person in front of you”.

Mike also supports many of us by hosting a WhatsApp group and providing daily feeds of data as well as warm psychological uplifts. Thank you, Mike, and thank you to all staff members in Tallaght and to patients, friends and families who shared their journey.

Getting Ireland’s Adults COVID-Vaccination Ready

We are delighted that we will be hosting our first public lecture of the IGS discussing How to boost uptake and increase the efficacy of the HSE COVID-19 vaccine rollout.  The event is on Wednesday 17th February 2021     3.00-4.15 p.m.  This link will bring you to the event website.

We ask that you all spread the word about this free online event among older family members, friends and networks.

Maximising the impact of vaccine effectiveness in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic will be a key element in reducing the susceptibility of older adults to COVID-19.  Any health behaviours which will boost immunity, and in particular the immune response to the SAR2CoV vaccine, are very important. As vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 is rolled out, it is important that learnings from previous vaccination programmes among older adults are used to maximise immune system responses.

Speakers are Prof Luke O’Neill, myself and chaired by Ms Olivia O'Leary, Journalist and IGS past-president Dr Diarmuid O'Shea.

Panellists include Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer HSE; Dr Siobhán Kennelly, National Clinical and Advisory Group Lead for Older Persons (HSE); Prof Rose Galvin, Physiotherapist; Ms Deirdre Lang, Director of Nursing Older Persons Services (HSE).  The panel will contribute towards addressing issues raised and questions posed by the audience.

Vitamin D and COVID-19

There is also a webinar by RCPI, delivered by IGS members, Vitamin D and COVID  on 16 February 2021 at 5:00 pmThis webinar will look at vitamin D in the context of COVID-19. It will examine the implications of vitamin D deficiency in COVID-19; focusing on the protective immunological effects of vitamin D against COVID-19. It will also examine the clinical experiences of managing COVID-19 patients who have a vitamin-D deficiency. 

This live webinar is available to Members and Fellows of RCPIdoctors on RCPI training programmes and doctors on RCPI Professional Competence Schemes

The webinar describes the accumulating evidence in this area and highlights how clinical practice and policy should evolve to take advantage of these new research findings. The event will be chaired by Professor Mary Horgan, President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, who will give the opening address and Dr Daniel McCartney - Prof JB Walsh, Prof John Faul and myself.

Warm regards

Prof Rose Anne Kenny, President of the Irish Gerontological Society

10th February, 2021