A frailty index derived from a standardized comprehensive geriatric assessment predicts mortality and aged residential care admission

BMC Geriatr. 2018 Dec 27;18(1):319. doi: 10.1186/s12877-018-1016-8.


Background: Frailty in older adults is a condition characterised by a loss or reduction in physiological reserve resulting in increased clinical vulnerability. However, evidence suggests that frailty may be modifiable, and identifying frail older people could help better target specific health care interventions and services.

Methods: This was a regional longitudinal study to develop a frailty index for older adults living in Canterbury New Zealand. Participants included 5586 community dwelling older people that had an interRAI Minimum Data Set (MDS-HC) Home Care assessment completed between 2008 and 2012. The outcome measures were mortality and entry into aged residential care (ARC), after five years.

Results: Participants were aged between 65 and 101 (mean age was 82 years). The five-year mortality rate, including those who entered ARC, for this cohort was 67.1% (n = 3747). The relationship between the frailty index and both mortality and entry into ARC was significant (P < 0.001). At five years, 25.1% (n = 98) of people with a baseline frailty of < 0.1 had died compared with 28.2% (n = 22) of those with a frailty index of ≥0.5 (FS 5). Furthermore, 43.7% (n = 171) of people with a frailty index of < 0.1 were still living at home compared to 2.6% (n = 2) of those with a frailty index of ≥0.5.

Conclusion: A frailty index was created that predicts mortality, and admission into ARC. This index could help healthcare professionals and clinicians identify older people at risk of health decline and mortality, so that appropriate services and interventions may be put in place.

Keywords: Aged care; Community dwelling older people; Frailty index; Geriatric assessment; Minimum data set.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly
  • Frailty / diagnosis*
  • Frailty / mortality*
  • Frailty / therapy
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods*
  • Home Care Services
  • Homes for the Aged*
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • New Zealand