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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 tools may 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.
This study took place in Geriatric Medicine 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 variables were retrieved from their medical 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).
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.
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.