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Frailty: a growing concern in the UK


Article: Ageing and frailty in the UK

Frailty is characterised by increased vulnerability to acute stressors associated with an age-related decline in function across multiple physiological systems. Since it is an age-dependent clinical syndrome, countries with ageing populations, like the United Kingdom (UK), are predicted to become increasingly exposed to worsening frailty-associated patient outcomes and burdened healthcare systems.

This article aimed to emphasise the importance of frailty-related education for healthcare professionals in the UK.

Key learnings:

Life expectancy in the UK is expected to increase to 85.7 years for men and 87.7 years for women by 2030. As its population is rapidly ageing, education regarding the recognition and effective management of frailty must be urgently provided for healthcare professionals practicing in the UK.

The Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) is one tool that healthcare professionals treating ageing populations must recognize and employ. CFS can accurately predict patient outcomes in an acute setting, thereby reducing the delay in frailty identification. These must be complemented by comprehensive geriatric assessments (CGAs) in community settings. Delays in frailty diagnosis statistically lead to longer stays, higher readmission rates, and increased burdens for hospitals and the UK’s National Healthcare System (NHS). As such, education centred around the early identification and management of frailty using CFS and CGAs is crucial for healthcare professionals in primary care, secondary care and community settings. These initiatives are critical to mitigating patient outcome complications and reducing frailty-associated burdens on the NHS.

Reviewed by: S. Duarte

Authors: Acharya J.

Published in: Future Healthcare Journal 2022

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