Frailty: Assessment and Communication within a Care Home Setting
The world is ageing. By 2050, it is estimated that there will be 2 billion people 65 years or older1 , with a significant proportion of this population susceptible to frailty. Health and social care for frail individuals is recognised as a growing policy issue, with implications for patients, staff and healthcare settings. Effective recognition, diagnosis and management of frailty requires comprehensive assessment processes and integrated communication across settings and professionals2 . Despite this, health and social care systems are often fragmented, impacting interprofessional communication.
We aimed to explore the range and nature of assessments for frailty, their storage – and the professions using the assessments – across a purposive sample of nursing homes in North West London.
Using a survey-based method, an in-depth exploration into the assessments used to assess frail patients took place. A total of 25 nursing homes across North West London provided analysable data. Quantitative analysis was used to explore the data – and for comparative analysis between nursing homes.
Variation in assessments used to assess frailty across nursing homes was evident – with a similar variation in their domain coverage (physical, social, mental and environmental) observed. Nurses proved to be the most common profession using the assessments, with storage of assessments being predominantly paper based. Results additionally indicated an observable difference in the average number of assessments used in commercially owned nursing homes – and nursing homes which were privately owned.
Despite the presence of assessments for frailty in all nursing homes, the variation in composition, comprehensiveness and compatibility are all potential barriers to the integration and communication across settings and professionals. Unifying assessment and care approaches could not only contribute towards efficient and effective information transfer – but could ultimately aid patient flow and experience through care settings.