Interview with Dr. Lene Holst Andersen of the EUGMS ECGI VLOG team
Author: Rosalyn Neranartkomol M.Sc. in Gerontology from USC
6th year medical student
Origin/affiliation: Medical University of Silesia in Poland
Dr. Lene Holst Andersen is a 38-year-old 4th year resident in geriatric, as well as a PhD candidate, living in Denmark.
1. How and why did you decide on specializing in geriatric?
Initially, I wanted to be a GP, but I needed more internal medicine experience; therefore, I tried the geriatric route and ended up liking it. Geriatric is interdisciplinary. I can witness how physical therapy increase functionality of our patient population and reduce frailty. I found the complexity of patient cases both challenging and satisfying. I’m a team player and I don’t mind if the nurse or the physical therapist finds the solution to the patient’s problem rather than me. I also find this specialty to be a pragmatic one. There are guidelines for each condition, but it is not possible to follow every guideline for these patients. Being a geriatrician means looking at the patient in a holistic way and deciding what is good for the patient together with the patient.
2. What do you envision the future of geriatrics will look like 10 years from now in?
I believe there will be more partnerships between other specialties like the orthogeriatric services. There will be more collaborations with other specialties such as urology, psychiatry, etc. since our patients are present in every ward (well, apart from pediatrics). I also believe that there will be an increase in the hospital at home model. The number of hospital beds are decreasing while our patients’ cases are too complex to send them safely back home, so to prevent readmission the hospital at home model will be on the rise.
3. How did you become involved in EUGMS and ECGI? Please can you describe your role, involvement, and how others might get involved?
I was invited to join ECGI by one of the board members of our national geriatric society and I found it noteworthy. I am part of the Vlog group, and we hope to increase knowledge about geriatrics and research collaboration, as well as outreach to seniors. I also hope to see an ECGI networking group and more activities at the EUGMS conference in the future. Geriatricians and other would-be geriatricians who are interested in getting involved are advised to contact EUGMS General Secretary, Anne Ekdahl.
4. Geriatrics is not a popular specialty, although there is a need for more geriatricians, in what way do you think geriatrics training can become more popular in Denmark?
I beg to differ, perhaps a decade ago geriatric as a specialization was not popular since geriatricians came off as unrelatable. However, there has been many changes in the field and the way geriatric is presented to medical students today. By rebranding geriatrics to be more relatable, it has become more popular. In the past, geriatricians were mostly rehabilitative specialists without much influence during a patient’s acute illness; however, nowadays geriatrics is view as a field of innovation and managing increasing numbers of elderly patients. Practicing medicine in Denmark as a geriatrician is sort of an art, due to the complexity of patient’s cases, and colleagues from other specialties really treasure our help.
5. Do you notice any country/culture specific trend that makes practicing geriatrics in Denmark different from elsewhere?
I am unsure about how other countries practice geriatrics, but Denmark distinguishes itself by implementing a hospital at home model. Collaboration with other departments might also be distinctive to Denmark. For example, geriatricians work at internal medicine wards, rather than specialized geriatric wards. Not only is it good for branding and recruitment of new colleagues, but it is also good for the specialty – being able to have collegial discussions to find the best solution for multimorbid patient is facilitated by the geriatrician being present at internal medicine wards.