• Frail and older adults often lose functional ability when they are brought to a health center for treatment.
  • An international group of researchers is attempting to create a frailty index (FI-Laboratory) for elderly patients. They believe it will help medical workers detect if new patients are at risk of developing adverse symptoms.


About the Research

The frailty index (FI) is the outcome of a research collaboration between Dalhousie University (Canada) and University College London (UK). Furthermore, the study group of elderly patients comes from the University College Hospital in London (UK). The study results are available in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The Frailty Index

Elderly patients are often at risk of loss of ability to function once they are admitted to the hospital. Even though their disease may not have a debilitating effect on regular patients, they can exhibit severe and life-threatening symptoms. Because of this, the researchers want to develop a precise FI. They believe such an index can be a tool to help diagnose the patients that are most at risk.

Besides the fact that the FI will help medical workers diagnose severely frail patients, it will allow better consoling. Once the index uncovers a patient that is at risk, they can be given special treatment and advice upon discharge. Through such measure patients can lower their frailty score. Also, it is a good preventive measure against adverse symptoms, in case they develop a new disease.

Researchers use standard laboratory blood tests to create their version of the FI. Also, they compare the results from the index with the outcome of hospital stays for a group of elderly patients. Through this evaluation, they could determine how the FI corresponds to the outcome of the treatment.

Their research results show that patients with high FI had an 18% increase in the probability of readmission. Hopefully, the FI will help determine which elderly people suffer from multiple health deficiencies. With this knowledge, medical workers can advise them better so they have a stronger chance of recovery.

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  • Studies about the frailty index are done in several medical research centers. However, researchers are uncertain if it will help improve clinical outcomes for elderly patients.