Combining the Hospital Frailty Risk Score With the Charlson and Elixhauser Multimorbidity Indices to Identify Older Patients at Risk of Poor Outcomes in Acute Care

Med Care. 2024 Feb 1;62(2):117-124. doi: 10.1097/MLR.0000000000001962. Epub 2023 Dec 11.


Objective: The Hospital Frailty Risk Score (HFRS) can be applied to medico-administrative datasets to determine the risks of 30-day mortality and long length of stay (LOS) in hospitalized older patients. The objective of this study was to compare the HFRS with Charlson and Elixhauser comorbidity indices, used separately or combined.

Design: A retrospective analysis of the French medical information database. The HFRS, Charlson index, and Elixhauser index were calculated for each patient based on the index stay and hospitalizations over the preceding 2 years. Different constructions of the HFRS were considered based on overlapping diagnostic codes with either Charlson or Elixhauser indices. We used mixed logistic regression models to investigate the association between outcomes, different constructions of HFRS, and associations with comorbidity indices.

Setting: 743 hospitals in France.

Participants: All patients aged 75 years or older hospitalized as an emergency in 2017 (n=1,042,234).Main outcome measures: 30-day inpatient mortality and LOS >10 days.

Results: The HFRS, Charlson, and Elixhauser indices were comparably associated with an increased risk of 30-day inpatient mortality and long LOS. The combined model with the highest c-statistic was obtained when associating the HFRS with standard adjustment and Charlson for 30-day inpatient mortality (adjusted c-statistics: HFRS=0.654; HFRS + Charlson = 0.676) and with Elixhauser for long LOS (adjusted c-statistics: HFRS= 0.672; HFRS + Elixhauser =0.698).

Conclusions: Combining comorbidity indices and HFRS may improve discrimination for predicting long LOS in hospitalized older people, but adds little to Charlson's 30-day inpatient mortality risk.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Frailty* / epidemiology
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Multimorbidity*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors