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The University of Southampton

Research helps frail older people in hospitals

Published: 27 April 2018
Frailty score
Research helps frail older people in hospitals

A study, involving researchers from the University of Southampton, has devised a ‘risk score’ which will be used to help frail older people have better support in hospital.

Using the concept of frailty (which captures vulnerability), the risk score will help identify older people who are more vulnerable.

This will help commissioners and hospitals identify this group of people, evaluate their outcomes and improve services to be more responsive to their needs.

The study, which was led by the University of Leicester involved researchers from the universities of Southampton and Newcastle, the Nuffield Trust and the London School of Economics.

Helen Roberts, Professor of Medicine for Older People at the University of Southampton, helped design and analyse the study. She said: “Frail older people admitted to hospital are at risk of deterioration in their physical and cognitive function, but identifying this group of people is difficult.

“The Hospital Frailty Risk Score for the first time demonstrates how routine hospital data can offer a low cost method of screening patients by frailty, to identify those at high risk of poor outcomes such as long length of stay, readmission or death, in all hospital departments. Implementing this score across hospitals could enable services to plan to meet the needs of frail people and improve their health care.”

Professor Simon Conroy, from the University of Leicester, added: “It is hoped that by identifying and focussing upon this high risk group that hospitals will be able to provide more holistic care to vulnerable older people to improve their outcomes.”

The research, funded by NIHR, is published in The Lancet .

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