Evaluation of clinical frailty screening in geriatric acute care
While frailty status is an attractive risk stratification tool, the evaluation of
frailty in acute care can be challenging as some inpatients are unable to complete
performance‐based tests as part of frailty assessment and some toolsmay lack discriminative
ability and categorize majority of cohorts as “frail”. In this study, we evaluated the feasibility
of frailty screening with the simple clinical frailty scale (CFS) by different clinicians,
and its association with mortality and rehospitalization in a geriatric acute care setting.
Methods: This study took place in GeriatricMedicine Department of a General Hospital
in Singapore.We analysed records of 314 inpatients aged 70 years and older. At baseline,
premorbid frailty was assessed using the CFS of the Canadian Study on Health and
Aging. Demographic characteristics and other variableswere retrieved from theirmedical
records. Primary outcomes were mortality and rehospitalization during the 6‐month
follow‐up. Survival analysis was used to compare the time to death and rehospitalization
among CFS categories (1‐4: nonfrail, 5‐6: mild‐moderate frail, and 7‐8: severe frail).
Results: CFS showed a high inter‐rater reliability when used by different clinicians.
In the Cox proportional hazard model controlling for age, gender, Charlson comorbidity
index, modified severity of illness index, and discharge placements, severe frailty
determined by CFS (HR = 2.09, 95% CI = 1.01‐4.33, P = 0.047) and CFS scores
(HR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.05‐1.53, P = 0.012) were significantly associated with higher
mortality until 6‐month postdischarge, but not rehospitalization.
Conclusion: Frailty status determined by CFS adds to disease severity and comorbidity
in predicting short‐term mortality but not rehospitalization in older inpatients
who received geriatric acute care in our setting. CFS is reliable and has the potential
to be incorporated into routine screening to better identify, communicate, and
address frailty in the acute settings.