QJM. 2023 Jul 19:hcad173. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcad173. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Even though frailty has been extensively measured in the acute care setting, relatively little is known about the frailty of younger adult inpatients.
AIM: This study aimed to measure frailty in a sample of hospitalised adults aged 18 years and over and to examine how frailty in younger adult inpatients differs from middle-aged and older adult inpatients.
DESIGN: Secondary analyses of prospectively collected cohort data.
METHODS: Research nurses assessed 910 patients at admission to four Australian hospitals using the interRAI Acute Care instrument. Comparison of Frailty Index (FI) scores and domains was conducted across three age groups: younger (18-49 years), middle-aged (50-69 years), and older adults (≥70 years). Multivariable logistic regression examined risk of prolonged length of stay and unfavourable discharge destination.
RESULTS: Younger adults (n = 214; 23.5%) had a mean (SD) frailty index of 0.19 (0.10). Approximately 27% (n = 57) of younger adults were frail (FI > 0.25). Mood and behaviour, health symptoms and syndromes, nutrition, and pain were the most frequently affected domains in younger adults and 50% had ≥3 comorbidities. Frailty increased the risk of long length of stay (OR = 1.77, p < 0.001) but not the risk of an unfavourable discharge (OR = 1.40, p = 0.20) in younger adults.
CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that frailty is prevalent in younger patients admitted to acute care and is associated with adverse outcomes. This study was a critical first step towards establishing an understanding of frailty in younger hospitalised adults.