Screening tools for frailty in primary health care: a systematic review

Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2012 Apr;12(2):189-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1447-0594.2011.00797.x. Epub 2012 Jan 10.


Frailty is the loss of resources in several domains leading to the inability to respond to physical or psychological stress. The evaluation of frailty is generally carried out using the Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment. For this evolving and potentially reversible syndrome, screening and early intervention are a priority in primary health care, and general practitioners require a simple screening tool. The aim of the present work was to review the literature for validated screening instruments for frailty in primary health care setting. A search was carried out on PubMed and Cochrane Central in June 2011. A total of 10 instruments screening for frailty in primary health care were listed, analysed and compared. It is difficult to show which tool today is the best for screening for frailty in the elderly in primary care settings. Two instruments are potentially suitable - the Tilburg Frailty Indicator and the SHARE Frailty Index. In addition, these instruments require validation in larger studies in primary health care settings and with more quality criteria.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly*
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care*