Action on Frailty
Our Action on Frailty Patient Safety Collaborative (PSC) aims to make the East of England the safest place to grow old. We will address the safety concerns of frail older people in the community, in hospitals and in care homes.
What we know
Frailty is a clinically recognised state of increased vulnerability. It results from ageing associated with a decline in the body’s physical and psychological reserves and varies in its severity. The degree of frailty of an individual is not static; it naturally varies over time and can be made better and worse. Frailty is not an inevitable part of ageing; it is a long-term condition like diabetes or dementia.
Older people living with frailty are at risk of dramatic deterioration in their physical and mental wellbeing after an apparently small event which challenges their health (eg. infection, new medication, fall, constipation or urine retention). Frailty might not be apparent unless actively considered and sought.
Many people with multiple long-term conditions will also have frailty that may be overlooked if the focus is on disease based long-term conditions such as diabetes or heart failure. Other people whose ‘only’ long term condition is frailty, may not be known to primary care or the local authority until they become immobile, bed bound, or delirious as a result of an apparently minor illness.
There is evidence that in individuals with frailty, a person-centred, goal-orientated comprehensive approach reduces poor outcomes and may reduce hospital admission.