Frailty indexes, screening instruments and their application in Belgian primary care
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Acta clinica Belgica. - Gent, 1997, currens
, p. 233-239
University of Antwerp
Objectives: The complex and expensive medical care for a rising number of older patients presents a significant challenge to the health care system. Identifying cost-effective preventive interventions and systematically applying them in the elderly population could help address this challenge. Frailty assessments could prove to be valuable tools by identifying at-risk individuals to which these interventions would be offered. This review seeks to provide the reader with an overview of frailty and explain how frailty assessments could contribute to daily practice. Methods: PubMed was searched for articles concerning frailty assessment (July 2013). Articles discussing prominent frailty models and articles primarily focused on comparing frailty assessments in the home-dwelling population were used for this article. Domus Medica was searched for guidelines concerning the use of frailty in Belgian primary care. Results: Several notable models of frailty are summarized and discussed to provide the reader with an overview of available frailty assessments. Frailty screening modalities in primary care are discussed, as well as the current recommendations for the use of frailty assessments in Belgian primary care. The advantages of a systematic frailty assessment in primary care and other settings are highlighted. Conclusion: This article recommends the assessment of frailty status as a screening tool for the evaluation of the older person in primary care. An overview of available frailty models is offered for this purpose. A consensus should be reached on which model is most appropriate. The screening for frailty promotes early intervention and timely involvement of specialists with the purpose of avoiding unfavourable outcomes, such as death or disability.