Researchers from the Wolfson Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia (Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences), supported by the NIHR Oxford Biomedical Research Centre, carried out a systematic review of studies on a total of 39 million patients with unplanned hospital admission, predominantly to acute general medicine.
The study, published in the journal eClinicalMedicine, showed that frailty was consistently associated with increased mortality, increased length of stay in hospital and discharge to a location other than home.
The findings come as a new NHS Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) framework includes a requirement relating to the identification and response to frailty in emergency departments.
The study's principal investigator, Professor Sarah Pendlebury, said: 'The idea underpinning the CQUIN is that these vulnerable patients are screened for frailty and referred for appropriate assessment. This approach is supported by our research, which shows there should be more widespread screening for both the presence and severity of frailty with simple clinically administered tools – such as the NHS-recommended Clinical Frailty Tool - to inform care and target comprehensive geriatric assessment and interventions.'