New ‘One-Stop Shop’ for Frailty

17 July 2020

The British Geriatrics Society launches new comprehensive Frailty Hub and CPD-accredited Frailty elearning module

The British Geriatrics Society (BGS) has launched a new free-to-access Frailty Hub, and associated Frailty elearning module, creating a ‘one-stop shop’ where healthcare professionals can view the latest information, research and educational resources addressing this crucial area of older people’s healthcare.

The Frailty Hub brings together curated articles, national guidelines and best practice relevant to frailty, and is reviewed and regularly updated by the BGS Clinical Quality Committee and the Frailty in Urgent Care Settings Special Interest Group (SIG). The associated elearning module on frailty covers key issues for healthcare professionals supporting older people with frailty, including identification, diagnosis and interventions.

Frailty is a condition commonly found in older people in which multiple body systems gradually lose their in-built reserves. Older people living with frailty are at risk of adverse health outcomes after an apparently minor event, such as an infection, change of environment, or new medication. This condition affects around 10% of people aged over 65 years old, rising to between a quarter and a half of those aged over 85 years old. It is estimated that up to 60% of older people admitted to acute hospital wards are living with frailty.

The evidence for the importance of recognising frailty and providing appropriate interventions for older people living with it has been strengthening in the UK and internationally in recent years. With longer life spans, there are more people living with frailty than ever before. Supporting this ageing population creates a demand for readily accessible frailty resources and relevant training. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted this issue. Research published in the Lancet shows the high prevalence of frailty in patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to hospital and the direct association between frailty,  duration of hospital stay and mortality.

Leading UK experts in the field of frailty, including Professor Simon Conroy, Professor Finbarr Martin and BGS Vice President for Clinical Quality Dr Jugdeep Dhesi supported by Dr Dan Thomas, Dr Emily Jasper and Dr Krishanthi Sathanandan, have led the development of the Frailty Hub and elearning module on frailty. The Frailty Hub includes an introduction to frailty where healthcare professionals can find out what frailty is, and how it can be diagnosed and managed. In addition, there are resources on frailty in different settings including care homes, emergency care, frailty units and the community, and resources relevant to specialised services such as diabetes, heart failure and oncology. For those with higher levels of expertise and in leadership roles, there are links to the latest research and useful information to help set up a frailty service, with examples of best practice, service development, and business cases. There is also an area of the hub focusing on the national picture with links to relevant publications by NHS England, NICE, GIRFT, NHS RightCare and NHS Benchmarking.

The associated elearning module covers frailty scales, theories underpinning the pathophysiology of frailty, clinical presentation, adverse outcomes, care planning, treatment, and personal experiences of living with frailty. There are also demonstrations of different frailty pathways. The module is suitable for consultants and registrars in all specialties as well as GPs/GP Trainees, Advanced Clinical Practitioners (Bands 7,8 and 9), Internal Medicine Training and Foundation Year doctors and Nurses and Allied Health Professionals (Bands 5 and 6) and other experienced healthcare professionals providing support to older people with complex needs. The module is available to view with or without accredited CPD, equivalent to 10 credits. BGS members can access this module on a reference-only basis, free of charge.

Professor Tahir Masud, President of the British Geriatrics Society, commented:

We are delighted to officially launch our new free-to-access Frailty Hub and the associated Frailty elearning module, which have been developed and curated by the leading UK experts in the field. It is crucial that all health professionals caring for older patients are able to identify frailty and provide the right interventions to help manage this condition. I would advise all doctors, nurses and allied health professionals caring for older people living with frailty to use these excellent resources on the BGS website”

Dr David Attwood, Honorary Secretary of the British Geriatrics Society, commented:

The presence of frailty has a profound impact in terms of managing patient goals, initiation and maintenance of medications, optimisation of long term conditions and advance care planning. For commissioners and senior leaders, this Frailty Hub provides a toolkit for the commissioning of evidence based services that are of proven benefit to older people in their locality. I wholeheartedly commend this online resource to my colleagues.”