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Introduction: Prognostication and disposition among older Emergency Department (ED) patients with suspected infection remains challenging. Frailty is increasingly recognized as a predictor of poor prognosis among critically ill patients, however its association with clinical outcomes among older ED patients with suspected infection is unknown. Methods: We conducted a multicentre prospective cohort study at two tertiary care EDs. We included older ED patients (≥ 75 years) presenting with suspected infection. Frailty at baseline (prior to index illness) was explicitly measured for all patients by the treating physicians using the Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS). We defined frailty as a CFS 5-8. The primary outcome was 30-day mortality. We used multivariable logistic regression to adjust for known confounders. We also compared the prognostic accuracy of frailty against the Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (SIRS) and Quick Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (qSOFA) criteria. Results: We enrolled 203 patients, of whom 117 (57.6%) were frail. Frail patients were more likely to develop septic shock (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.83, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.08-2.51) and more likely to die within 30 days of ED presentation (aOR 2.05, 95% CI: 1.02-5.24). Sensitivity for mortality was highest among the CFS (73.1%, 95% CI: 52.2-88.4), as compared to SIRS ≥ 2 (65.4%, 95% CI: 44.3-82.8) or qSOFA ≥ 2 (38.4, 95% CI: 20.2-59.4). Conclusion: Frailty is a highly prevalent prognostic factor that can be used to risk-stratify older ED patients with suspected infection. ED clinicians should consider screening for frailty in order to optimize disposition in this population.
A growing number of frail older adults are treated in the emergency department (ED) and discharged home. There is an unmet need to identify older adults that are predisposed to functional decline and repeat ED visits so as to target them with proactive interventions.
A prospective cohort study was conducted in patients 75 years or older who were being discharged from the ED. The objective was to test the value of frailty screening tests, namely 5-meter gait speed and handgrip strength, to predict repeat ED visits at 1 and 6 months and functional decline at 1 month using multivariable logistic regression.
After excluding 7 patients lost to follow-up, 150 patients were available for analysis. The mean age was 81.1 ± 4.9 years with 51% females, 13% arriving by ambulance, and 67% having at least two comorbid conditions. At ED discharge, 41% of patients were found to have slow gait speed, whereas 23% had weak handgrip strength. After adjustment, only slow gait speed was independently associated with functional decline at 1 month (odds ratio [OR] 1.39 per 0.1 meters/second decrement, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.12 to 1.72) and repeat ED visits at 6 months (OR 1.20 per 0.1 meters/second decrement, 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.42).
Gait speed can be feasibly measured at the time of ED discharge to identify frail older adults at risk for early functional decline and subsequent return to the ED. Conversely, grip strength was not found to be associated with functional decline or ED visits.
The 2016 Canadian Triage and Acuity Scale (CTAS) updates introduced frailty screening within triage to more accurately code frail patients who may deteriorate waiting for care. The relationship between triage acuity and frailty is not well understood, but may help inform which supplemental geriatric assessments are beneficial to support care in the emergency department (ED). Our objectives were to investigate the relationship between triage acuity and frailty, and to compare their associations with a series of patient outcomes.
We conducted a secondary analysis of the Canadian cohort from a multinational prospective study. Data were collected on ED patients 75 years of age and older from eight ED sites across Canada between November 2009 and April 2012. Triage acuity was assigned using the CTAS, whereas frailty was measured using an ED frailty index. Spearman rank and binary logistic regression were used to examine associations.
A total of 2,153 ED patients were analyzed. No association was found between the CTAS and ED frailty index scores assigned to patients (r = .001; p = 0.99). The ED frailty index was associated with hospital admission (odds ratio [OR] = 1.5; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.4–1.6), hospital length of stay (OR = 1.4; 95% CI = 1.2–1.6), future hospitalization (OR = 1.1; 95% CI = 1.05–1.2), and ED recidivism (OR = 1.1; 95% CI = 1.04–1.2). The CTAS was associated with hospital admission (e.g., CTAS 2 v. 5; OR = 6; 95% CI = 3.3–11.4).
Our findings demonstrate that frailty and triage acuity are independent but complementary measures. EDs may benefit from comprehensive frailty screening post-triage, as frailty and its associated geriatric syndromes drive outcomes separate from traditional measures of acuity.
To evaluate the impact of ‘holistic’ link-workers on service users’ well-being, activation and frailty, and their use of health and social care services and the associated costs.
UK policy is encouraging social prescribing (SP) as a means to improve well-being, self-care and reduce demand on the NHS and social services. However, the evidence to support this policy is generally weak and poorly conceptualised, particularly in relation to frail, older people and patient activation. Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, an integrated care organisation, commissioned a Well-being Co-ordinator service to support older adults (≥50 years) with complex health needs (≥2 long-term conditions), as part of its service redesign.
A before-and-after study measuring health and social well-being, activation and frailty at 12 weeks and primary, community and secondary care service use and cost at 12 months prior and after intervention.
Most of the 86 participants achieved their goals (85%). On average health and well-being, patient activation and frailty showed a statistically significant improvement in mean score. Mean activity increased for all services (some changes were statistically significant). Forty-four per cent of participants saw a decrease in service use or no change. Thirteen high-cost users (>£5000 change in costs) accounted for 59% of the overall cost increase. This was largely due to significant, rapid escalation in morbidity and frailty. Co-ordinators played a valuable key-worker role, improving the continuity of care, reducing isolation and supporting carers. No entry-level participant characteristic was associated with change in well-being or service use. Larger, better conceptualised, controlled studies are needed to strengthen claims of causality and develop national policy in this area.
To assess the feasibility, reliability, and validity of the Pictorial Fit-Frail Scale (PFFS) among patients, caregivers, nurses, and geriatricians in an outpatient memory clinic.
A Canadian referral-based outpatient memory clinic.
Fifty-one consecutive patients and/or their caregivers, as well as attending nurses and geriatricians.
Participants (patients, caregivers, nurses, and geriatricians) were asked to complete the PFFS based on the patient’s current level of functioning. Time-to-complete and level of assistance required was recorded. Participants also completed a demographic survey and patients’ medical history (including the Mini-Mental State Examination [MMSE], and Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment [CGA]) was obtained via chart review.
Patient participants had a mean age of 77.3±10.1 years, and average MMSE of 22.0±7.0, and 53% were female. Participants were able to complete the PFFS with minimal assistance, and their average times to completion were 4:38±2:09, 3:11±1:16, 1:05±0:19, and 0:57±0:30 (mins:sec) for patients, caregivers, nurses, and geriatricians, respectively. Mean PFFS scores as rated by patients, caregivers, nurses, and geriatricians were 9.0±5.7, 13.1±6.6, 11.2±4.5, 11.9±5.9, respectively. Patients with low MMSE scores (0–24) took significantly longer to complete the scale and had higher PFFS scores. Inter-rater reliability between nurses and geriatricians was 0.74, but it was lower when assessments were done for patients with low MMSE scores (0.47, p<0.05). The correlation between PFFS and a Frailty Index based on the CGA was moderately high and statistically significant for caregivers, nurses, and geriatricians (r=0.66, r=0.59, r=0.64, respectively), but not patients.
The PFFS is feasible, even among people with some slight cognitive impairment, though it may be less useful when patients with severe dementia administer it to themselves. Further, the PFFS may help inform clinicians about areas of concern as identified by patients, enabling them to contribute more to diagnostic and treatment decisions or helping with health tracking and care planning.
As many as 70% of intensive care unit (ICU) survivors suffer from long-term physical, cognitive, and psychological impairments known as post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). We describe how the first ICU survivor clinic in the United States, the Critical Care Recovery Center (CCRC), was designed to address PICS using the principles of Agile Implementation (AI).
The CCRC was designed using an eight-step process known as the AI Science Playbook. Patients who required mechanical ventilation or were delirious ≥48 hours during their ICU stay were enrolled in the CCRC. One hundred twenty subjects who completed baseline HABC-M CG assessments and had demographics collected were included in the analysis to identify baseline characteristics that correlated with higher HABC-M CG scores. A subset of patients and caregivers also participated in focus group interviews to describe their perceptions of PICS.
Quantitative analyses showed that the cognitive impairment was a major concern of caregivers. Focus group data also confirmed that caregivers of ICU survivors (n = 8) were more likely to perceive cognitive and mental health symptoms than ICU survivors (n = 10). Caregivers also described a need for ongoing psychoeducation about PICS, particularly cognitive and mental health symptoms, and for ongoing support from other caregivers with similar experiences.
Our study demonstrated how the AI Science Playbook was used to build the first ICU survivor clinic in the United States. Caregivers of ICU survivors continue to struggle with PICS, particularly cognitive impairment, months to years after discharge. Future studies will need to examine whether the CCRC model of care can be adapted to other complex patient populations seen by health-care professionals.
Body weight is a major risk determinant of frailty, but the effect of obesity on frailty is controversial. The present study aimed to confirm the hypothesis that the risk of frailty is positively associated with obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2), but the association is mediated by the waist:height ratio (WHtR) in older women and men. A total of 2862 community-dwelling older individuals aged 70–84 years were assessed for frailty using the Korean version of Fatigue, Resistance, Ambulation, Illnesses, and Loss of weight index. Obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) was associated with a higher risk of frailty compared with BMI 18·5–<23 kg/m2 in all the older individuals (OR 1·88; 95 % CI 1·11, 3·17; P = 0·018) and in older women (OR 1·86; 95 % CI 1·01, 3·42; P = 0·047) before adjusting for WHtR but was not associated with BMI after adjusting for WHtR. Additionally, obesity was not significantly associated with the risk of frailty before and after adjusting for WHtR in older men. Mediation analysis revealed that the association between BMI and frailty score was mediated by WHtR. Moreover, the mediating effect of WHtR on frailty score was positive in both women and men, but the frailty score was associated with BMI positively in women and negatively in men. The present study suggests that the risk of frailty is higher in obese women, which is mediated by WHtR, but not in obese men.
We describe the findings of a qualitative longitudinal interview study of a group of initially community-dwelling frail older people, and their informal and formal carers. We used a narrative approach to explore the role that narrative may have for people living with frailty. This has been less explored comparative to the experiences of those living with chronic illness. The frail older people told stories of their experiences that revealed three distinct shapes or typologies. These were either stable, unbalancing or overwhelmed, and related to how the person managed to adapt to increasing challenges and losses, and to reintegrate their sense of self into a cohesive narrative. Each is illustrated by an individual case story. Frailty is described as both biographically anticipated yet potentially biographically disruptive as older people may struggle to make sense of their circumstances without a clear single causative factor. Findings are discussed in relation to biographical disruption and reconstruction in chronic illness and the rhetoric around ‘successful ageing’. We conclude by drawing attention to the complex individual and social factors that contribute to the experience of living with frailty in later life.
We examined the quality of care provided to older persons with frailty in five Canadian provinces, using administrative health data. In each province, we identified two cohorts of older persons with frailty: decedents and living persons. Using decision rules, we considered individuals to be frail if they were long-term care residents, terminally ill, or met at least two of seven domains, which were based on frailty scales, geriatrician discussions, and health service utilization indicators. We assessed quality of care using selected quality indicators: decrease in length of hospital stay, decrease in the number of in-patient readmissions, decrease in the number of emergency department visits, increase in the level of family physician continuity of care, decrease in the use of mechanical ventilation, and decrease in the number of admissions to intensive care. Using regression analyses, we also found male sex and older age were associated with poorer quality of care in both cohorts. This study provides baseline data for evaluating future efforts to improve the quality of care provided to older persons with frailty.
Over the last 15 years, frailty has become a dominant discourse on late life. Taken-for-granted knowledge and practice can be seen in initiatives such as the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics’ White Book on Frailty. This paper begins with an overview of key themes on frailty from the biomedical literature, followed by critical literature in the social sciences and humanities. It discusses the tensions within the biomedical field, frailty as a social construction and ‘social imaginary’, practices of frailty as historically linked to political systems of care, and frailty as an emotional and relational experience. It then draws on a critical discourse analysis to assess the 2016 White Book on Frailty. Drawing on the idea of ‘significant absences’, the paper highlights the gaps that exist where the social and emotional understandings and political readings of frailty are concerned. The paper concludes by outlining the need to recognise the ‘politics of frailty’ including the power relations that are deeply embedded in the knowledge and practices surrounding frailty, and to incorporate older people's experience and ideas of vulnerability into research, policy and care practice.
This paper aims to identify barriers that frail community-dwelling older adults experience regarding access to formal care and support services.
Universal access to healthcare has been set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a main goal for the post-2015 development agenda. Nevertheless, regarding access to care, particular attention has to be paid to the so-called vulnerable groups, such as (frail) older adults.
Both inductive and deductive content analyses were performed on 22 individual interviews with frail, community-dwelling older adults who indicated they lacked care and support. The coding scheme was generated from the conceptual framework ‘6A’s of access to care and support’ (referring to work of Penchansky and Thomas, 1981; Wyszewianski, 2002; Saurman, 2016) and applied on the transcripts.
Results indicate that (despite all policy measures) access to a broad spectrum of care and support services remains a challenge for older people in Belgium. The respondents’ barriers concern: ‘affordability’ referring to a lot of Belgian older adults having limited pensions, ‘accessibility’ going beyond geographical accessibility but also concerning waiting lists, ‘availability’ referring to the lack of having someone around, ‘adequacy’ addressing the insufficiency of motivated staff, the absence of trust in care providers influencing ‘acceptability’, and ‘awareness’ referring to limited health literacy. The discussion develops the argument that in order to make care and support more accessible for people in order to be able to age in place, governments should take measures to overcome these access limitations (eg, by automatic entitlements) and should take into account a broad description of access. Also, a seventh barrier (a seventh A) within the results, namely ‘ageism’, was discovered.
Introduction: Frailty is a state of vulnerability affecting older adults, and has been associated with adverse events such as increased risk of institutionalization, falls, functional decline, and mortality. Previous research suggests that emergency department (ED) physicians are much less comfortable managing the complex care needs of frail, older adults. The objective of this study was to identify successful strategies and expert skills that ED physicians possess to optimally manage the frail, older patient. Methods: An interpretive descriptive qualitative study was conducted. One of the investigators contacted the site leads of 12 academic and community EDs across Canada to identify ED physicians who they perceived as being highly skilled in the care of frail, older patients. 22 individual physicians were identified and 13 physicians representing 10 EDs were invited to participate in a 30-minute semi-structured interview. Transcripts were coded by two members of the research team. Data collection is ongoing and analyses will occur until thematic saturation. Results: All participants indicated they were very comfortable managing the frail, older patient in the ED. Awareness of issues related to this patient population were triggered by both clinical and personal experiences, as well as institutional priorities. When asked how they developed their specific skills for this patient population, participants stated they received limited formal training during residency and early practise, but relied on situational learning, access to role models and engagement in self-directed learning. Participants identified three predominant management strategies for the care of the frail, older patient: thorough patient interaction at the start of the clinical encounter to maximize efficiency; engaging in teamwork to manage complex issues; and early involvement of the family/caregivers. Interestingly, not all participants used the term frailty, however most reflected principles of the concept in their discussion. Conclusion: Currently, principles of caring for frail, older adults are not widespread in emergency medicine residency training. These findings suggest that frailty care frequently requires an alternative clinical approach, which is often derived from personal experience, self-directed and experiential learning. Future educational initiatives should derive, implement and evaluate a wide-spread curriculum to teach the skills required to optimally care for these patients.
Introduction: The geriatric patient population accounts for an ever increasing proportion of emergency department (ED) visits. Geriatric centered EDs are an emerging area of interest and research. Though there have been past studies looking at older patient presentations at individual hospitals, there is limited data describing geriatric presentations within an entire Canadian geographic health region. This study characterizes the population of older adults utilizing the EDs in the Edmonton Zone, a health region that comprises a total of eleven tertiary (T), urban community (UC) and rural community (RC) hospitals. Methods: This retrospective cross-sectional study targeted all patients ≥65 years presenting to the Edmonton Zone EDs between April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. Data was extracted from the Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) database for ten EDs in the health region. Clinical and administrative data points were extracted and examined for each site. Results: We analyzed 100,813 ED geriatric patient visits during our study period, accounting for 18.7% of total ED visits to the Edmonton Zone. The five most common triage complaints at ED presentation were shortness of breath, abdominal pain, chest pain with cardiac features, general weakness, and back pain. CTAS scores 1-3 were assigned to 77.8% of geriatric presentations (T: 86.3%, UC: 77.4%, RC: 60.9%). 27.3% of geriatric patients had presented to an ED within the past 30 days (T: 30.0%, UC: 25.4%, RC: 27.7%). On average, 35.3% of older adult ED visits involved a consultation (T: 51.7%, UC 30.8%, RC 14.6%) and approximately 25% of geriatric patients were admitted to hospital during their ED visit (T: 42.8%, UC: 19.4%, RC: 7.1%). The average length of stay (LOS) in the ED (hh:mm) was 10:19 (T: 10:24, UC: 11:38, RC: 5:43). Overall, 2.4% of all geriatric patients left an ED without being seen after initial registration (T: 2.7%, UC: 2.2%, RC: 2.1%). Conclusion: Older adults represent a significant proportion of the ED visits in the Edmonton Zone. The triage acuity, LOS, re-presentation, consultation and admission rates varied based on the type of ED, which has implications for resource allocation within the health region. Our results can also direct future targeted initiatives and quality improvement projects to the various types of EDs in the Edmonton Zone, and facilitate planning of ED services for older adults in other health regions who have a similar geographic distribution of care sites.
Frailty is associated with cognitive decline in older adults. However, the mechanisms explaining this relationship are poorly understood. We hypothesized that sleep quality may mediate the relationship between frailty and cognition.
154 participants aged between 50-90 years (mean = 69.1 years, SD = 9.2 years) from the McKnight Brain Registry were included.
Participants underwent a full neuropsychological evaluation, frailty and subjective sleep quality assessments. Direct relationships between frailty and cognitive function were assessed using linear regression models. Statistical mediation of these relationships by sleep quality was assessed using nonparametric bootstrapping procedures.
Frailty severity predicted weaker executive function (B = −2.77, β = −0.30, 95% CI = −4.05 – −1.29) and processing speed (B = −1.57, β = −0.17, 95% CI = −3.10 – −0.16). Poor sleep quality predicted poorer executive function (B = −0.47, β = −0.21, 95% CI = −0.79 – −0.08), processing speed (B = −0.64, β = −0.28, 95% CI = −0.98 – −0.31), learning (B = −0.42, β = −0.19, 95% CI = −0.76 – −0.05) and delayed recall (B = −0.41, β = −0.16, 95% CI = −0.80 – −0.31). Poor sleep quality mediated the relationships between frailty severity and executive function (B = −0.66, β = −0.07, 95% CI = −1.48 – −0.39), learning (B = −0.85, β = −0.07, 95% CI = −1.85 – −0.12), delayed recall (B = −0.47, β = −0.08, 95% CI = −2.12 – −0.39) and processing speed (B = −0.90, β = −0.09, 95% CI = −1.85 – −0.20).
Relationships between frailty severity and several cognitive outcomes were significantly mediated by poor sleep quality. Interventions to improve sleep quality may be promising avenues to prevent cognitive decline in frail older adults.
Tools applied at the point of care can provide valuable prognostic information for practitioners. In this one-year, prospective observational study, we examined the association of the short performance physical battery (SPPB) and one-year emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. Overall, 191 new referrals attending an outpatient geriatric clinic in Hamilton, Ontario, were approached, and 120 were enrolled. SPPB and other assessments were completed during the routine clinical visit. ED visits and hospitalizations within one year of the baseline assessment were abstracted from electronic medical records. Logistic regression analyses were used to determine ED visits and hospitalization predictors. The mean SPPB score in the study cohort (mean age 80.6, SD 6.3 years; 53% female) was 6.3 (SD 3.2). SPPB score was associated with a one-year ED visit (OR = 0.90 [0.78–1.03]) and hospitalization (OR = 0.84 [0.72–0.97]) after adjusting for age, sex, and co-morbidities.
Objective: Post-stroke cognitive impairment is common, but mechanisms and risk factors are poorly understood. Frailty may be an important risk factor for cognitive impairment after stroke. We investigated the association between pre-stroke frailty and acute post-stoke cognition. Methods: We studied consecutively admitted acute stroke patients in a single urban teaching hospital during three recruitment waves between May 2016 and December 2017. Cognition was assessed using the Mini-Montreal Cognitive Assessment (min=0; max=12). A Frailty Index was used to generate frailty scores for each patient (min=0; max=100). Clinical and demographic information were collected, including pre-stroke cognition, delirium, and stroke-severity. We conducted univariate and multiple-linear regression analyses with covariates forced in (covariates included were: age, sex, stroke severity, stroke-type, pre-stroke cognitive impairment, delirium, previous stroke/transient ischemic attack) to investigate the association between pre-stroke frailty and post-stroke cognition. Results: Complete data were available for 154 stroke patients. Mean age was 68 years (SD=11; range=32–97); 93 (60%) were male. Median mini-Montreal Cognitive Assessment score was 8 (IQR=4–12). Mean Frailty Index score was 18 (SD=11). Pre-stroke cognitive impairment was apparent in 13/154 (8%) patients. Pre-stroke frailty was significantly associated with lower post-stroke cognition (Standardized-Beta=−0.40; p<0.001) and this association was independent of covariates (Unstandardized-Beta=−0.05; p=0.005). Additional significant variables in the multiple regression model were age (Unstandardized-Beta=−0.05; p=0.002), delirium (Unstandardized-Beta=−2.81; p<0.001), pre-stroke cognitive impairment (Unstandardized-Beta=−2.28; p=0.001), and stroke-severity (Unstandardized-Beta=−0.20; p<0.001). Conclusions: Pre-stroke frailty may be a moderator of post-stroke cognition, independent of other well-established post-stroke cognitive impairment risk factors. (JINS, 2019, 25, 501–506)
Sufficient protein intake has been suggested to be important for preventing physical frailty, but studies show conflicting results which may be explained because not all studies address protein source and intake of other macronutrients and total energy. Therefore, we studied 2504 subjects with data on diet and physical frailty, participating in a large population-based prospective cohort among subjects aged 45+ years (the Rotterdam Study). Dietary intake was assessed with a FFQ. Frailty was defined according to the frailty phenotype as the presence of at least three out of the following five symptoms: weight loss, low physical activity, weakness, slowness and fatigue. We used multinomial logistic regression models to evaluate the independent association between protein intake and frailty using two methods: nutrient residual models and energy decomposition models. With every increase in 10 g total, plant or animal protein per d, the odds to be frail were 1·06 (95 % CI 0·98, 1·15), 0·87 (95 % CI 0·71, 1·07) and 1·07 (95 % CI 0·99, 1·15), respectively, using the nutrient residual method. Using the energy partition model, we observed that the odds to be frail were lower with higher vegetable protein intake (OR per 418·4 kJ (100 kcal): 0·61, 95 % CI 0·39, 0·97), however, results disappeared when adjusting for physical activity. For energy intake from any source we observed that with every 418·4 kJ (100 kcal) increase, the odds to be frail were 5 % lower (OR: 0·95, 95 % CI 0·93, 0·97). Our results suggest that energy intake, but not protein specifically, is associated with less frailty. Considering other macronutrients, physical activity and diet quality seems to be essential for future studies on protein and frailty.
Background: There is little empirical research into lay definitions of frailty. Objectives: (1) To explore the definitions of frailty among older men, and (2) to explore if these definitions match commonly used clinical definitions of frailty. Methods: Analysis of open-ended questions to survey data from a prospective cohort study of older airmen. The definitions of frailty were elicited, and grouped according to themes. Results: 147 men responded (mean age: 93). There was considerable heterogeneity in older men’s’ definitions of frailty, and no theme of frailty was predominant. The most common theme was impairment in activities of daily living. Older men’s’ definition of frailty was not consistent with any commonly used medical theory of frailty. Conclusions: Most older men think frailty is important, but their definitions are not consistent. Frailty may be a heterogeneous experience, which different people experience differently.