Living Well with Frailty

On the first day of teaching we looked at defining frailty and how you would recognise and screen people for it. What we didn’t discuss was why this is important. To make the effort worthwhile we need to know if frailty is amenable to prevention and treatment. The answer is YES.

Reducing the Likelihood of Frailty

So what can we do to reduce people’s chances of becoming frail? We know that “healthy ageing” reduces the risk of developing frailty. Healthy ageing involves ensuring

  • Good nutrition
  • That you don’t take too much alcohol
  • That you stay physically active
  • That you prevent obesity
  • That you remain engaged in your local community/ avoiding loneliness.
  • That Influenza and pneumococcal pneumonia vaccination is taken up by those identified “at risk”.

NHS England, in partnership with Age UK, Public Health England, and the Chief Fire Officer’s Association and older people themselves, have published “A Practical Guide to Healthy Ageing“. The guide is designed to help people to stay physically and mentally well by providing hints and tips on how to keep fit and independent. It recognises that there is always something that can be done to improve our own health and wellbeing. You can access the guide by clicking HERE

On the same page you will also find “Practical Guide to Healthy Caring“. This guide provides information and advice to carers about staying healthy and identifies the support available to help carers maintain their health and well-being.

What About People With Established Frailty?

The adverse effects of frailty can be mitigated by for example by:

  • Vision and hearing assessment and referral
  • Reducing people’s falls risk
  • Timely medication review can reduce risk of adverse drug reactions, drug interactions and non-compliance.
  • Strength and balance training
  • Assessment of home hazards and then interventions to reduce these
  • Using assistive technology as part of a menu of options in place to help people to effectively self-manage their long-term condition

(NICE, 2019)

A more detailed list of interventions that can be used by both commissioning groups and providers can be found in the NHS England Document “Compassionate care for frail older people using an integrated care pathway” which you can download from

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/safe-comp-care.pdf

The interventions list starts on page 17 of the booklet and finishes on page 21.

You could also look at the information available from NICE onImproving Care and Support for People with Frailty” Click on THIS LINK to view.

Frailty Focus is a test campaign commissioned by NHS North Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group which has a website for tackling frailty in their local area. There are areas of the website for healthcare professionals, the general public and carers/volunteers all aimed at enabling more of the local population to age well while planning ahead, discussing what matters most and ensuring they get the right care and support now, and into the future.

The Frailty Focus introductory video is below

This is the link to the projects main web page which you should explore and use with your own team

http://www.frailtyfocus.nhs.uk/

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