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Frailty and health care use among community-dwelling older adults with diabetes: a population-based study

Authors Li CL, Stanaway FF, Lin JD, Chang HY

Received 12 August 2018

Accepted for publication 16 October 2018

Published 8 November 2018 Volume 2018:13 Pages 2295—2300


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Zhi-Ying Wu

Chia-Lin Li,1,2 Fiona F Stanaway,3 Jen-Der Lin,2 Hsing-Yi Chang4

1Department of Health Care Management, College of Management, Chang Gung University, Kwei-Shan, Tao-Yuan 333, Taiwan; 2Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University, Linkou, Tao-Yuan 333, Taiwan; 3Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, NSW, Australia; 4Division of Preventive Medicine and Health Service Research, Institute of Population Health Sciences, National Health Research Institutes, Maoli 350, Taiwan

The aims of this study were to investigate the prevalence of frailty and its relationship with health care use among community-dwelling older adults with diabetes.
Methods: We analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of people aged 65 years and above (n=3,203) participating in the 2013 National Health Interview Survey in Taiwan. A total of 719 participants had a history of self-reported physician-diagnosed diabetes. The presence of frailty was determined based on the Fatigue, Resistance, Ambulation, Illness, and Loss of weight (FRAIL) scale proposed by the International Association of Nutrition and Aging. FRAIL scores range from 0 to 5 and are categorized as frail (3–5), pre-frail (1–2), and robust (0). Participants were asked whether they had been hospitalized or had visited an emergency department in the past year.
Results: Among community-dwelling older adults with diabetes, 9.4% of participants were frail and 35.3 % were pre-frail. After adjustment for other factors, being frail was significantly associated with hospitalization during the past year (OR =5.31, 95% CI =1.87–15.10), whereas being pre-frail was not associated with hospitalization. Both being pre-frail and frail were significantly associated with emergency department visits during the past year (OR =2.64, 95% CI =1.35–5.17 and OR =4.05, 95% CI =1.31–12.49, respectively) after adjustment for other factors.
Conclusion: Our results highlight the high prevalence of frailty in community-dwelling older adults with diabetes. Furthermore, being frail is associated with a greater burden of hospitalizations and emergency department visits.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus, elderly, frailty, health care use, Taiwan

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