General practitioners' perceptions, attitudes and experiences of frailty and frailty screening

Rachel C Ambagtsheer, Mandy M Archibald, Michael Lawless, David Mills, Solomon Yu, Justin J. Beilby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: General practitioners (GPs) are uniquely positioned to support frailty identification and management. However, awareness of frailty and its treatment remains an emergent concept for many. Consequently, our aim was to explore GPs' perceptions, attitudes and experiences of frailty and frailty screening. METHOD: A qualitative focus group study was conducted with 22 South Australian GPs. GPs were recruited through a combination of purposive, convenience and snowball sampling. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis approach. RESULTS: GPs saw frailty as a cycle of worsening decline punctuated by experience of negative outcomes. Participants largely felt that they already knew who their frail patients were without the need for formal screening. Consequently, there was varied support for formal screening, largely dependent on its intended purpose. Few GPs had actively intervened to prevent the onset or progression of frailty, with most strategies aimed at stabilisation and management. DISCUSSION: This study suggests that Australian GPs may be open to a proactive approach to frailty assessment and treatment, given appropriate training and resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-433
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian journal of general practice
Volume48
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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