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Open Access Review

Frailty in primary care: a review of its conceptualization and implications for practice

Alethea Lacas1 and Kenneth Rockwood2*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

2 Department of Medicine (Division of Geriatric Medicine) Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2012, 10:4  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-4

Published: 11 January 2012


Frail, older patients pose a challenge to the primary care physician who may often feel overwhelmed by their complex presentation and tenuous health status. At the same time, family physicians are ideally suited to incorporate the concept of frailty into their practice. They have the propensity and skill set that lends itself to patient-centred care, taking into account the individual subtleties of the patient's health within their social context. Tools to identify frailty in the primary care setting are still in the preliminary stages of development. Even so, some practical measures can be taken to recognize frailty in clinical practice and begin to address how its recognition may impact clinical care. This review seeks to address how frailty is recognised and managed, especially in the realm of primary care.

frailty; primary care; frailty index; comprehensive geriatric assessment