GPs urged to test patients for frailty risks

GPs must do more to identify frail patients and educate them about the risks of complications from the condition, NHS England's head of geriatric care has warned.

Professor John Young (Photo: Pete hill)
Professor John Young (Photo: Pete hill)

Professor John Young, NHS England’s national director for integration and frail elderly care, said frail patients with complex needs were difficult to manage in a healthcare system designed to treat single conditions.

But frailty can lead to falls, delirium and immobility, he warned, and more must be done by practices to assess and support those at risk.

Addressing the RCGP annual conference in Liverpool, he encouraged GPs to use a ‘simple, evidence-based walking speed test’ to assess patients for the risk of frailty.

The test, which assesses whether patients take longer than five seconds to walk four metres, correctly identifies frailty in 99% of cases.

Professor Young encouraged GPs to hold 'conversations', as opposed to consultations, with these patients to allow them to explain their multiple health needs.

GPs should use this ‘narrative-based medicine’ to plan care and support, he said.

Frailty is thought to affect 25-50% of people over the age of 80. Patients can develop ‘hyper-acute symptoms’ to usually minor illness, drastically affecting quality of life.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GPC members call for radical overhaul of 'outdated' GP training

GPC members call for radical overhaul of 'outdated' GP training

The BMA's GP trainees subcommittee will call for a 'radical overhaul' of GP training...

LMCs call for revalidation and appraisal overhaul

LMCs call for revalidation and appraisal overhaul

GPs who have had five consecutive 'successful' appraisals should only be required...

Slight drop in full-time GP workforce over past year but partner numbers in freefall

Slight drop in full-time GP workforce over past year but partner numbers in freefall

The overall number of full-time equivalent (FTE) GPs fell by 27 during 2018 and the...

GPs to stop charging patients for debt and mental health forms

GPs to stop charging patients for debt and mental health forms

The BMA has pledged that GP practices in England will stop charging patients for...

Former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston among latest MPs to join breakaway group

Former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston among latest MPs to join breakaway group

Health and social care committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston has left...

Global sum to increase by just 92p in 2019/20

Global sum to increase by just 92p in 2019/20

Practices will receive just 92p more per weighted patient as their global sum in...