Living with frailty

For people living with mild frailty our focus should be upon helping individuals and their carers to acknowledge, understand and address the condition, ensuring they are aware of the support available to them. This can provide people with the tools they need to self-manage their condition and enable them to access appropriate support when they. This may be from families, carers, community and voluntary sector organisations as well as from health and care services. Supporting resources include:

Living with moderate frailty

People living with moderate frailty will also benefit from ‘comprehensive geriatric assessment,’ in addition to the approaches described for mild frailty.  Key elements include falls risk assessment, medicines optimisation and cognitive assessment, with consideration of modifiable psychosocial and environmental factors also being important. This works alongside the tailored approach to care recommended for people with multimorbidity.

By focusing on what it is important to each person and by understanding their sources of resilience and vulnerability, a person-centred and holistic care and support plan can be developed. This can help individuals to keep control over actions being taken to maintain their health and wellbeing, as well as reducing the risk of adverse outcomes associated with frailty.

Living with severe frailty

Care for people living with severe frailty adds to the principles described for moderate frailty, with continued needs focused care review, assessment and care planning. It supports a continued focus upon personal goals and the available support required to achieve them.

This approach focuses on timely recognition of advancing frailty and thus enables appropriate steps to be taken to identify and meet an individual’s needs and wishes during the last stages of their life.

People living in care homes are likely to be living with higher levels of frailty and therefore merit particular attention to their care needs. Delivering comprehensive, consistent and structured enhanced support to them will ensure that their needs continue to be identified and met proactively.

Support for people living with frailty is one of the three particular challenges faced by the NHS (as noted in the first paragraph of the Five Year Forward View) and many organisations are already developing frailty services designed around the needs of patients.