Editorial

Importance of identifying frailty

Identifying frailty is a core business for healthcare professionals who work with older people. Through systematic detection of indicators, such as changes in mobility, continence or mental health, we can tailor care planning for individuals and change service provision accordingly.

Identifying frailty is a core business for healthcare professionals who work with older people. Through systematic detection of indicators, such as changes in mobility, continence or mental health, we can tailor care planning for individuals and change service provision accordingly.

At Medway Maritime Hospital, the acute frailty service is designed to improve access to specialist care and provide a streamlined pathway for older people. Our analysis explores why it is important to have access to this type of service and expertise, particularly for people with immobility, dementia or delirium, or those living in nursing homes.

Hospital staff have many incentives to optimise patient pathways for admission and discharge, and to identify frailty on presentation. However, frailty should be identified throughout the older person’s health and social care journey because, by identifying needs earlier or in more timely ways, we can reduce the number of hospital admissions, and improve management and support in primary care.

The identification of frailty is important across the whole of every older person’s health and social care journey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One way of doing this is to harness technology to support frail people to live safely and independently at home. We explore seven pilot projects involving telehealth, virtual personal assistants and mobile heart monitors that have been implemented across England.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The support that technology can offer is exciting, but will be effective only if it is underpinned by individualised assessments. Identifying frailty and applying comprehensive geriatric assessments (CGAs) are the cornerstones of contemporary health care for older people, and require practitioners’ expertise. The value of professional input by skilled practitioners is demonstrated by our CGA case study and features.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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