Older people are majority users of health and social care services in the UK and internationally. Many older people who access these services have frailty, which is a state of vulnerability to adverse outcomes. The existing health care response to frailty is mainly secondary care-based and reactive to the acute health crises of falls, delirium and immobility. A more proactive, integrated, person-centred and community-based response to frailty is required. The British Geriatrics Society Fit for Frailty guideline is consensus best practice guidance for the management of frailty in community and outpatient settings.
Recognition of frailty: The BGS recommends that all encounters between health and social care staff and older people in community and outpatient settings should include an assessment for frailty. A gait speed <0.8m/s; a timed-up-and-go test >10s; and a score of ≥3 on the PRISMA 7 questionnaire can indicate frailty. The common clinical presentations of frailty (falls, delirium, sudden immobility) can also be used to indicate the possible presence of frailty.
Management of frailty: The BGS recommends an holistic medical review based on the principles of comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) for all older people identified with frailty. This will: diagnose medical illnesses to optimise treatment; apply evidence-based medication review checklists (e.g. STOPP/START criteria); include discussion with older people and carers to define the impact of illness; work with the older person to create an individualised care and support plan.
Screening for frailty: The BGS does not recommend population screening for frailty using currently available instruments.
Keywords: best practice guidelines; frailty; older people.
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