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Simultaneous Employment of the FRAIL Scale and the Tilburg Frailty Indicator May Identify Elderly People Who Require Different Interventional Strategies

Authors Sacha M, Sacha J, Wieczorowska-Tobis K

Received 19 February 2020

Accepted for publication 2 April 2020

Published 19 May 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 683—690


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Magdalena Sacha,1 Jerzy Sacha,2,3 Katarzyna Wieczorowska-Tobis1

1Department of Palliative Medicine, Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan, Poland; 2Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Opole University of Technology, Opole, Poland; 3Department of Cardiology, University Hospital in Opole, Opole, Poland

Correspondence: Jerzy Sacha Email

Purpose: Frailty is a geriatric syndrome that is usually considered as a set of physical deficits (unidimensional concept); however, it can also concern the psychological and social domains of human functioning (multidimensional concept). The FRAIL scale is a diagnostic tool which ascertains only physical frailty, whereas the Tilburg Frailty Indicator (TFI) is a diagnostic instrument for multidimensional frailty. The study investigates if non-robust physical status and multidimensional frailty affect the same individuals and whether simultaneous employment of the FRAIL scale and TFI identifies specific subgroups of elderly people which require different interventions.
Patients and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 1024 community dwelling elderly individuals at the age of 65 years or older (mean age 72.6 ± 6.3 years; range 65– 93 years) were evaluated with the FRAIL scale and TFI.
Results: According to the FRAIL scale, 52.9% of the subjects were physically non-robust, but according to TFI, 54.6% presented multidimensional frailty. These two diagnostic tools were concordant in their outcomes in 77.1% (ie, 42.3% of individuals were physically and multidimensionally frail but 34.8% were robust according to both two instruments); however, in 22.9% the outcomes were discordant. Consequently, by simultaneous employment of the FRAIL scale and TFI, four distinct functional categories have been distinguished: (i) non-robust physical status with multidimensional frailty, (ii) exclusive non-robust physical status, (iii) exclusive multidimensional frailty, and (iv) full robust status.
Conclusion: By applying simple physical and multidimensional frailty diagnostic tools, subgroups of elderly people may be identified that require specific management strategies to improve their functional status.

Keywords: physical frailty, multidimensional frailty, psychological frailty, social frailty, aging, functional status

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