Joining the Dots: A blueprint for preventing and managing frailty in older people

06 March 2023

The British Geriatrics Society today launches ‘Joining the Dots: A blueprint for preventing and managing frailty in older people.’ This document aims to show what good-quality age-attuned integrated care for older people looks like. It is intended to help commissioners in the design and delivery of health and care services for older people.

Older people are the largest group using health and social care services. But the way services are currently configured and delivered is not meeting their needs, and is creating avoidable costs for an over-stretched health and care system.  This document provides commissioners across the UK with the information they need to transform older people’s healthcare.

The Blueprint sets out why organisations commissioning health and care services must focus on older people and on the prevention and management of frailty in particular. Frailty affects up to half of the population aged over 85 and costs UK healthcare systems £5.8billion per year. Around 47% of hospital inpatients aged over 65 are affected by frailty. But frailty is not an inevitable part of ageing, and putting in place measures to slow its onset or progression should be a priority for every commissioner across the UK. Prevention and reversal of frailty enables people to live independently for longer and helps to reduce demand for emergency care and long-term support.

The Blueprint sets out seven system touchpoints and outcomes, ranging from ‘Enabling independence, promoting wellbeing’ through to ‘Co-ordinated, compassionate end of life care’, that should be considered when planning and commissioning health and social care for older people. Twelve actions are recommended for systems to create the conditions for high-quality integrated care for older people. These are supported by evidence, illustrations and key resources to help with implementation.

Feedback from older people and the current challenges in the system demand that we look afresh at how health and care could be delivered in a more joined-up and effective way. Developed from older people’s insights and the expertise of the multiprofessional BGS community, this Blueprint offers a clear and practical guide to commissioners in creating a sustainable integrated model of care for older people.

Professor Adam Gordon, President of the British Geriatrics Society, commented:

I am proud that experts from the BGS under the leadership of Professor Anne Hendry have worked together to create this essential guide to delivering high-quality age-attuned care for older people. The framework it sets out, supported by evidence, examples and practical resources, will be immensely valuable for commissioners and system leaders as they plan for the needs of current and future older populations.”