Together to Tackle Frailty

07 October 2019

Anne Hendry is a consultant geriatrician from Lanarkshire, BGS's next Deputy Honorary Secretary, Senior Associate with the International Foundation for Integrated Care, and work package lead for Advantage – the European Joint Action on Frailty @Advantage_JA

Advantage is the first European joint action to prevent and manage frailty. Twenty-two countries across Europe are collaborating to raise awareness of Frailty as a public health priority and to agree on an evidence-based Frailty Prevention Approach. I lead ‘team UK’, working closely with policy and professional leads from the four UK nations, as well as our colleagues from the Isle of Man and Ireland.  We have held a few ‘Six Nations’ meetings to exchange updates about our respective work on frailty – each sharing our national treasures like the core capabilities framework, the electronic Frailty Index, and innovations in technology-enabled care, falls prevention and tackling polypharmacy.

So far the project has published a state of the art report on frailty, reviewed the effectiveness of integrated care for frail older people, and highlighted six examples of integrated models of care that have been implemented at scale in six countries. These reports are available here. The project work plan for 2019 includes a Delphi to establish consensus on core competencies for all health and care professionals dealing with older persons and to inform education across Europe. With our colleagues from Ireland we are leading a review of the components and effectiveness of intermediate care for older adults. Intermediate care is not well developed in many countries and the concept is still not universally understood.

Last year’s survey of policy and practice across Europe highlighted how much we should be proud of in the UK – but of course we have so much more to do!  Each participating country is setting out their commitments in a Road Map towards a comprehensive Frailty Prevention Approach. These will be shared at the final conference in Brussels, November 27th 2019.

Many of you are – or soon will be - at the heart of new models of integrated care for frailty – whether supporting Acute Frailty collaboratives, Ageing Well initiatives in England, Living and Dying well with Frailty programmes in Scotland, Falls and Frailty interventions in Wales, or participating in the new Frailty Network in Northern Ireland.  It would be great to share with our European colleagues some practical examples of how you are tackling frailty right across the care pathway - from home to primary and community services, intermediate care settings, within hospitals and through enhanced care in care homes.  Please send any news or updates to me anne [dot] hendry [at] lanarkshire [dot] scot [dot] nhs [dot] uk (here).

You can also support the Face up to Frailty campaign. This uses the power of personal stories to raise awareness of the impact of frailty for individuals, their families, communities and professionals. Please share a patient or carer story from your practice or your views as a professional working with people living with frailty. You can send content to anne [dot] hendry [at] lanarkshire [dot] scot [dot] nhs [dot] uk (me) or upload it directly on the “Face Up to Frailty” section of the website, or via social media. 

Join the movement and follow on Twitter @Advantage_JA Facebook ‘ADVANTAGE JA’ Register for the Advantage JA newsletter Connect with colleagues across Europe at #faceuptofrailty 


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