The Utility of the Frailty Index in Clinical Decision Making

J Frailty Aging. 2018;7(2):138-141. doi: 10.14283/jfa.2018.7.


Using clinical vignettes, this study aimed to determine if a measure of patient frailty would impact management decisions made by geriatricians regarding commonly encountered clinical situations. Electronic surveys consisting of three vignettes derived from cases commonly seen in an acute inpatient ward were distributed to geriatricians. Vignettes included patients being considered for intensive care treatment, rehabilitation, or coronary artery bypass surgery. A frailty index was generated through Comprehensive electronic Geriatric Assessment. For each vignette, respondents were asked to make a recommendation for management, based on either a brief or detailed amount of clinical information and to reconsider their decision after the addition of the frailty index. The study suggests that quantification of frailty might aid the clinical judgment now employed daily to proceed with usual care, or to modify it based on the vulnerability of the person to whom it is aimed.

Keywords: Frailty index; clinical vignettes; geriatrician; management decisions.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Clinical Decision-Making*
  • Frail Elderly
  • Frailty / diagnosis*
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans