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Old age higher training

Old Age Psychiatry is a subspecialty of Psychiatry that focuses on the mental health and wellbeing of older people. There are numerous areas that allow for clinical and academic experience on the programme, including:

  • dementia care and assessment for older people
  • cognitive assessments and input for younger people with organic contributory factors, with the option to work closely alongside general adult colleagues and substance misuse colleagues in complicated cases working with specialised younger onset dementia pathways.
  • functional assessments and input for older people
  • community based work with innovative teams, developing experience in the areas of specialist behavioural support service models, new models of care home in reach, and in the development of crisis intervention services targeted at older people
  • inpatient work in a variety of settings, working with dementia and functional patients. There is the opportunity to develop experience in innovative models of service delivery, including functionalised inpatient setups in some health boards, as well as Shared Care Wards and close working with Geriatric Medical Colleagues on other rotations
  • the chance to work in liaison psychiatric posts across Wales and to experience difference models of liaison service provision. This would aid trainees in securing the newly approved old age liaison endorsement and to gain experience in a rapidly developing area of service provision to older people.

Trainees rotate between a variety of different settings to ensure a breadth of experience in different teams and working patterns, to help hone individual style and support personal interests.

There are opportunities to work alongside psychology colleagues to gain experience in a variety of psychological therapies specifically targeted at, and shown to be effective with, older people. In addition there are opportunities to develop knowledge of in depth Neuropsychometric testing including cognitive tests related to driving abilities.

There are links to work closely with Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools, as well as educational experience in north Wales. Additionally, there is a nationally renowned course based out of the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff supporting doctors applying for a Diploma in Geriatric Medicine.

Old Age Psychiatry is a stimulating and challenging area, allowing for the development of a range of skills around both mental and physical health.

Each trainee will be allocated an Educational Supervisor, who will oversee the entirety of their higher training. In addition, they will have a Clinical Supervisor for each of their clinical placements.

Dr Amrita Varanasi is the Training Programme Director for the Old Age Psychiatry Training Programme and is a Consultant Old Age Psychiatrist in Aneurin Bevan University Health Board.