Frailty is a stage of life. It is the result of the cumulative effects of health issues that occur over the life course. When accumulation of these issues depletes the physiologic reserve to the point that day-to-day activity is affected, a person is said to be "frail".
Frailty is becoming more prevalent.
It is estimated that about a third of Nova Scotians over the age of 65 are frail. Younger people (under 65) can also be frail.6 The impact of frailty extends across age groups, as well as to family-and-friend caregivers.
Frail patients have complex needs that take time to address. Given that a focus on a single diagnosis can distract from all the other things that frail patients need, health care must develop more organized approaches to improving outcomes in this patient population.
This course is available on the Provincial Learning Management System (LMS):
1. Rockwood, K., Song, X., MacKnight, C., Bergman, H., Hogan, D. B., McDowell, I., & Mitnitski, A. (2005). A global clinical measure of fitness and frailty in elderly people. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 173(5), 489-495.
2. Ekerstad, N., Swahn, E., Janzon, M., Alfredsson, J., Löfmark, R., Lindenberger, M., & Carlsson, P. (2011). Frailty is independently associated with short-term outcomes for elderly patients with non–ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. Circulation, 124(22), 2397-2404.
3. Theou, O., & Rockwood, K. (2012). Should frailty status always be considered when treating the elderly patient?. Aging Health, 8(3), 261-271.
4. Makary, M. A., Segev, D. L., Pronovost, P. J., Syin, D., Bandeen-Roche, K., Patel, P., ... & Fried, L. P. (2010). Frailty as a predictor of surgical outcomes in older patients. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 210(6), 901-908.
5. Searle, S. D., Mitnitski, A., Gahbauer, E. A., Gill, T. M., & Rockwood, K. (2008). A standard procedure for creating a frailty index. BioMed Central Geriatrics, 8(1), 24.
6. Statistics Canada. (2015). Table 2 Percentage distribution of frail seniors, based on Frailty Index (FI) cut-point of >0.21, by age group, sex and province/territory, household population, Canada, 2009/2010. Retrieved from https://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2013009/article/11864/tbl/tbl2-eng.htm