The community-based interventions that can make a difference for people with frailty

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We have recently published a resource that summarises the evidence for different community-based frailty interventions. This blog post gives an overview of the document and its features.

Why focus on frailty?

A person with frailty can experience serious adverse consequences following even a relatively minor illness. Its impact can be very significant in terms of consequent disability or admission to a nursing home.

If frailty is identified at an early stage and individuals are targeted with evidence-based interventions that can manage frailty, or reverse it, this can improve people’s quality of life and wellbeing. This reduces the likelihood that they will need to access unplanned services due to a crisis, which, in turn, reduces the use of expensive, unscheduled care.

The community-based interventions that can make a difference

The literature on frailty is vast. For the purposes of our resource we focused on interventions in frailty that are community-based, focused on the prevention of harms or poor outcomes, and supported by relatively high-level evidence. The Evidence and Evaluation for Improvement Team carried out literature searches and produced evidence summaries for the following topics:

  • Exercise interventions and physical activity
  • Polypharmacy review
  • Immunisation
  • Primary care interventions
  • Community geriatric services
  • Lifestyle factors: physical activity diet, obesity, smoking alcohol and their relation to frailty
  • Nutritional interventions for the prevention and treatment of frailty
  • Hospital at home: admission prevention and early discharge
  • Reablement (including rehabilitation)
  • Bed-based intermediate care
  • Anticipatory care planning

Making the evidence accessible

We then created visual abstracts for each topic, which allow readers to compare the different interventions at a glance, and provide a route into the more detailed evidence summaries and further reading. The visual abstracts include information on the potential benefits of each intervention, evidence quality, costs, and frailty level:

Reablement visual abstract
Reablement visual abstract
Reablement summary
Reablement evidence summary

 

We hope that this document will help Health and Social Care Partnerships to compare different interventions for frailty and the evidence behind them, and to consider which interventions could make a difference for people with frailty in their local areas.

You can access the report, Living Well in Communities with Frailty: evidence for what works by clicking on the document image below:

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Testing the eFI in Scotland: focus on Midlock GP practice

 

Some members of the Living Well in Communities and Midlock teams at the NHSScotland event

The Living Well in Communities team is working with Health and Social Care Partnerships in Glasgow City, West Dunbartonshire and Midlothian to test the electronic frailty index (eFI) to identify people over 65 who are living with frailty in the community. The Living Well in Communities team have developed an assets-based approach to support evidence-based interventions that are tailored to the individual. This article looks at the work to date with Midlock GP practice in Glasgow.

The testing in Midlock GP practice

The eFI uses GP read codes to calculate an individual’s degree of frailty and stratifies them into fit, mildly frail, moderately frail and severely frail. The tool has been validated in England. The purpose of testing at Midlock GP practice was to determine if the tool was accurate in a Scottish context. We have been working with a GP and other members of Glasgow City HSCP, including housing and the voluntary sector. The testing involved stratification of the GP population for frailty and reviewing case scenarios to determine if the eFI tool fits with a Scottish population. Continue reading “Testing the eFI in Scotland: focus on Midlock GP practice”

Preventing falls in Argyll and Bute: Cowal Befrienders’ exercise classes

Strength and Balance

In this article we look at a service which is aiming to prevent falls by supporting older people who have difficulty attending classes to take part in exercise.

Background

Exercise has an important role to play in reducing the risk of falls among older people in the community. A recent BMJ review has indicated that exercise-based and tailored interventions are the most effective way to reduce falls and associated healthcare costs among older people in the community, while a recently updated Care Inspectorate good practice resource, Managing Falls and Fractures in Care Homes for Older People has stressed the importance of keeping mobile, doing regular exercise and being physically active.

The Cowal Befrienders’ falls prevention exercise classes are working towards the overall aim that “Older people have a reduced risk of falls that may affect their ability to live independently in the community”.

The classes

Cowal Befrienders host two strength and balance exercise classes per week for older people who require some help to get to the Befrienders’ drop-in centre where the classes are held and support to participate in exercise classes.

Classes are co-ordinated and delivered by Otago-qualified staff employed by Cowal Befrienders (the Otago  exercise programme is designed to prevent falls). Referrals and assessments are managed by the NHS Highland physiotherapy team.

Clients are entitled to six free classes, and can continue to attend for a modest fee of £2.50 per session. There is a small charge for clients requesting transport to their classes to help offset the additional costs incurred to provide this service (£3 return for individuals living within Dunoon, and £5 return for those living outside of the town).

In addition to health and wellbeing benefits, such as increased strength, balance and mobility, and helping participants to feel more confident and independent, the classes also have a social aim: to help older people to expand their social networks and foster peer support, and to increase access to health-promoting information that meets their needs.

The social aspect of the classes has been particularly valued by participants, with 97% citing this as one of the things that they enjoyed most about the classes. Clients also particularly appreciated the encouragement that they were given by staff and volunteers, and the pace of the classes. Continue reading “Preventing falls in Argyll and Bute: Cowal Befrienders’ exercise classes”