Frailty scales - Their potential in interprofessional working with older people: A discussion paper

Centre for Research in Primary & Community Care, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK.
Journal of Interprofessional Care (Impact Factor: 1.4). 07/2011; 25(4):280-6. DOI: 10.3109/13561820.2011.562332
Source: PubMed


New models of interprofessional working are continuously being proposed to address the burgeoning health and social care needs of older people with complex and long-term health conditions. Evaluations of the effectiveness of these models tend to focus on process measures rather than outcomes for the older person. This discussion paper argues that the concept of frailty, and measures based on it, may provide a more user-centred tool for the evaluation of interprofessional services - a tool that cuts across unidisciplinary preoccupations and definitions of effectiveness. Numerous frailty scales have been developed for case identification and stratification of risk of adverse outcomes. We suggest that they may also be particularly suitable for evaluating the effectiveness of interprofessional working with community-dwelling older people. Several exemplars of frailty scales that might serve this purpose are identified, and their potential contributions and limitations are discussed. Further work is required to establish which is the most suitable scales for this application. The development of an appropriate frailty scale could provide an opportunity for interprofessional debate about the forms of care and treatment that should be prioritised to improve the health and well-being of this population.

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Available from: Claire Goodman, Jun 29, 2015
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    • "Frailty score was measured within 48 hours of discharge from the GEM unit to group patients based on their usual frailty severity. Frailty was measured using the definition of the frailty syndrome by Edmonton Frailty Scale (EFS) [16]. It is a validated brief and user-friendly screening scale for frailty in older patients in both inpatient and outpatient settings [17]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background. A geriatric evaluation and management unit (GEM) manages elderly inpatients with functional impairments. There is a paucity of literature on frailty and whether this impacts on rehabilitation outcomes. Objectives. To examine frailty score (FS) as a predictor of functional gain, resource utilisation, and destinations for GEM patients. Methods. A single centre prospective case study design. Participants (n = 136) were ≥65 years old and admitted to a tertiary hospital GEM. Five patients were excluded by the preset exclusion criteria, that is, medically unstable, severe dementia or communication difficulties after stroke. Core data included demographics, frailty score (FS), and functional independence. Results. The mean functional improvement (FIM) from admission to discharge was 11.26 (95% CI 8.87, 13.66; P < 0.001). Discharge FIM was positively correlated with admission FIM (β = 0.748; P < 0.001) and negatively correlated with frailty score (β = −1.151; P = 0.014). The majority of the patients were in the “frail” group. “Frail” and “severely frail” subgroups improved more on mean FIM scores at discharge, relative to that experienced by the “pre-frail” group. Conclusion. All patients experienced functional improvement. Frailer patients improved more on their FIM and improved relatively more than their prefrail counterparts. Higher frailty correlated with reduced independence and greater resource utilisation. This study demonstrates that FS could be a prognostic indicator of physical independence and resource utilisation.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research
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    • "The challenge faced by health and social care services in the developed world is to create integrated systems that address frailty [1-3]. Models of long-term chronic disease management for frail older people emphasize the need for multi-professional, pan-agency collaborative working that promotes closer working between health and social care organizations (e.g.[4-7]). "
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    ABSTRACT: Most services provided by health and social care organisations for older people living at home rely on interprofessional working (IPW). Although there is research investigating what supports and inhibits how professionals work together, less is known about how different service models deliver care to older people and how effectiveness is measured. The aim of this study was to describe how IPW for older people living at home is delivered, enacted and evaluated in England. An online survey of health and social care managers across England directly involved in providing services to older people, and a review of local strategies for older people services produced by primary care organisations and local government adult services organisations in England. The online survey achieved a 31% response rate and search strategies identified 50 local strategies that addressed IPW for older people living at home across health and social care organisations. IPW definitions varied, but there was an internal consistency of language informed by budgeting and organisation specific definitions of IPW. Community Services for Older People, Intermediate Care and Re-enablement (rehabilitation) Teams were the services most frequently identified as involving IPW. Other IPW services identified were problem or disease specific and reflected issues highlighted in local strategies. There was limited agreement about what interventions or strategies supported the process of IPW. Older people and their carers were not reported to be involved in the evaluation of the services they received and it was unclear how organisations and managers judged the effectiveness of IPW, particularly for services that had an open-ended commitment to the care of older people. Health and social care organisations and their managers recognise the value and importance of IPW. There is a theoretical literature on what supports IPW and what it can achieve. The need for precision may not be so necessary for the terms used to describe IPW. However, there is a need for shared identification of both user/patient outcomes that arise from IPW and greater understanding of what kind of model of IPW achieves what kind of outcomes for older people living at home.
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