Using a population screening tool to identify people with frailty in the community: the e-frailty index

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by Laura Dobie, Knowledge and Information Skills Specialist

The Challenge

A person with frailty can experience serious adverse outcomes following even a relatively minor illness. Timely identification of frailty can help to reduce the likelihood of a poor outcome following an intervention (or eliminate the need for an intervention entirely) and support the long-term management of people’s health needs.

If we can identify people with frailty in the community, we can offer preventative support that could improve their quality of life and reduce the risk of unscheduled admissions.

There are a number of tools which professionals can use to screen people for frailty (see the British Geriatric Society’s Fit for Frailty guidance). However, many of these tools are based on questionnaires that require practitioners to have direct contact with individuals and can only be used to assess people who are actively engaged with services.  It would be resource-intensive and challenging for services to screen large population groups for frailty using these individual assessments.

The risk stratification tool, Scottish Patients at Risk of Re-admissions or Admissions (SPARRA) identifies individuals within the whole population at risk of hospital admission based on nationally-collected data on acute admissions and community prescribing.  However, it does not discriminate frailty from other high-risk population groups and can only identify individuals who are known to services, as they have had recent acute admissions or have been prescribed high-risk medications.  Alternative population screening tools are needed to identify people with frailty living in the community. Continue reading “Using a population screening tool to identify people with frailty in the community: the e-frailty index”

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