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Treating frailty-a practical guide

Nicola Fairhall12, Colleen Langron3, Catherine Sherrington2, Stephen R Lord4, Susan E Kurrle3, Keri Lockwood3, Noeline Monaghan1, Christina Aggar5, Liz Gill1 and Ian D Cameron1*

Author Affiliations

1 Rehabilitation Studies Unit, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Sydney, Ryde, Sydney 2112, Australia

2 The George Institute for Global Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney 2000, Australia

3 Rehabilitation and Aged Care Services, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, Hornsby, Sydney 2077, Australia

4 Neuroscience Research Australia, University of New South Wales, Randwick, Sydney 2031, Australia

5 Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, The University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, Australia

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BMC Medicine 2011, 9:83  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-9-83

Published: 6 July 2011


Frailty is a common syndrome that is associated with vulnerability to poor health outcomes. Frail older people have increased risk of morbidity, institutionalization and death, resulting in burden to individuals, their families, health care services and society. Assessment and treatment of the frail individual provide many challenges to clinicians working with older people. Despite frailty being increasingly recognized in the literature, there is a paucity of direct evidence to guide interventions to reduce frailty. In this paper we review methods for identification of frailty in the clinical setting, propose a model for assessment of the frail older person and summarize the current best evidence for treating the frail older person. We provide an evidence-based framework that can be used to guide the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of frail older people.