Recognising older frail patients near the end of life: What next?
Eur J Intern Med. 2017 Oct 06;:
Authors: Cardona-Morrell M, Lewis E, Suman S, Haywood C, Williams M, Brousseau AA, Greenaway S, Hillman K, Dent E
Frailty is a state of vulnerability resulting from cumulative decline in many physiological systems during a lifetime. It is progressive and considered largely irreversible, but its progression may be controlled and can be slowed down and its precursor -pre-frailty- can be treated with multidisciplinary intervention. The aim of this narrative review is to provide an overview of the different ways of measuring frailty in community settings, hospital, emergency, general practice and residential aged care; suggest occupational groups who can assess frailty in various services; discuss the feasibility of comprehensive geriatric assessments; and summarise current evidence of its management guidelines. We also suggest practical recommendations to recognise frail patients near the end of life, so discussions on goals of care, advance care directives, and shared decision-making including early referrals to palliative and supportive care can take place before an emergency arises. We acknowledge the barriers to systematically assess frailty and the absence of consensus on best instruments for different settings. Nevertheless, given its potential consequences including prolonged suffering, disability and death, we recommend identification of frailty levels should be universally attempted in older people at any health service, to facilitate care coordination, and honest discussions on preferences for advance care with patients and their caregivers.
PMID: 28993099 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]