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RCNi frailty resource showcased at congress

Frailty is not about age but is a physical condition, and nurses can access a wide variety of learning tools on the RCNi website, a fringe event at congress heard.

Frailty is not about age but is a physical condition, and nurses can access a wide variety of learning tools on the RCNi website, a fringe event at congress heard

dawne garrett
Dawne Garrett described to congress the misconceptions about frailty.
Picture: John Houlihan

Frailty is a physical condition and not just about age, and nurses can access a wide variety of learning tools on the RCNi website, a fringe event at congress heard.

RCNi and the RCN older people's forum have put together a frailty resource pack – including audio recordings, features, videos and a peer-reviewed learning module which is free until May 22 – to coincide with congress.

RCN professional lead for older people and dementia care Dawne Garrett spoke to nurses at congress on Monday about the relatively low awareness of the condition, despite it being recognised for 30 years.

She talked about different measures of frailty and misconceptions, including that it is dependent on age.

Social activities

Vicki Leah, RCN older people's forum chair and a nurse consultant at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, described how social activities could improve people's conditions and stop them from becoming frail.

She said loneliness can contribute to inactivity and put people at risk of becoming frail, and voiced concern at how efforts to reduce loneliness often 'feel quite contrived'.

Ms Leah said people may feel reluctant to admit being lonely if the solution is that a 'stranger' visits them to have a chat.

She said schemes such as walking football at Leyton Orient football club in London, a walking form of the sport mainly aimed at the over 50s, can encourage interaction and reintroduce people to a hobby they may have taken part in when they were younger.

Online tool

Walking rugby and other slow versions of sports are also emerging.

The trust has also teamed up the Dogs Trust charity in the hope that having a pet will provide a daily routine for those who are not yet frail but may be affected by a bereavement or the sudden inactivity of retirement.

Lisa Berry, editor of RCNi journal Nursing Older People, described ways in which nurses can use an online tool to learn more about frailty and ways to prevent it.

The resource pack covers how to recognise frailty and includes guidance on how to manage patients with frailty using a  process of care called 'comprehensive geriatric assessment'.


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