Factors influencing communication about frailty in primary care: A scoping review

Michael T. Lawless, Mandy M. Archibald, Rachel C. Ambagtsheer, Alison L. Kitson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: To summarise the available evidence on the factors influencing communication about frailty in the primary care setting. Methods: We conducted a scoping review, searching five electronic databases (PubMed, Scopus, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and ProQuest) for studies addressing communication about frailty in primary care practice. Reference list and grey literature searching was conducted to identify additional articles. A narrative descriptive method was used to synthesise the findings. Results: The search identified 3185 articles and 37 were included in the review. We identified five categories of factors influencing communication about frailty at the consumer, healthcare provider, and system levels: (1) consumer perceptions, information needs, and communication preferences; (2) healthcare providers’ knowledge, capacities, and attitudes; (3) clinical communication skills and training; (4) availability of information and communication technologies; and (5) care coordination, collaboration, and case management. Conclusion: Findings offer considerations for the design and delivery of initiatives to improve communication about frailty in primary care both at the local clinical level and at the broader level of healthcare service delivery. Practice implications: Healthcare providers and systems require practical, evidence-informed guidance regarding the development of a systematic approach to the quality and timing of communication about frailty in healthcare encounters.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 16 Sep 2019



  • Aged
  • Frail elderly
  • Frailty
  • Health communication
  • Primary health care
  • Scoping review

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