Identification of older adults with frailty in the Emergency Department using a frailty index: Results from a multinational study

For The Multinational Emergency Department Study

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41 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: frailty is a central concept in geriatric medicine, yet its utility in the Emergency Department (ED) is not well understood nor well utilised. Our objectives were to develop an ED frailty index (FI-ED), using the Rockwood cumulative deficits model and to evaluate its association with adverse outcomes. Method: this was a large multinational prospective cohort study using data from the interRAI Multinational Emergency Department Study. The FI-ED was developed from the Canadian cohort and validated in the multinational cohort. All patients aged =75 years presenting to an ED were included. The FI-ED was created using 24 variables included in the interRAI ED-Contact Assessment tool. Results: there were 2,153 participants in the Canadian cohort and 1,750 in the multinational cohort. The distribution of the FI-ED was similar to previous frailty indices. The mean FI-ED was 0.26 (Canadian cohort) and 0.32 (multinational cohort) and the 99th percentile was 0.71 and 0.81, respectively. In the Canadian cohort, a 0.1 unit increase in the FI-ED was significantly associated with admission (odds ratio (OR) = 1.43 [95% CI: 1.34-1.52]); death at 28 days (OR = 1.55 [1.38-1.73]); prolonged hospital stay (OR = 1.37 [1.22-1.54]); discharge to long-term care (OR = 1.30 [1.16-1.47]); and need for Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (OR = 1.51 [1.41-1.60]). The multinational cohort showed similar associations. Conclusion: the FI-ED conformed to characteristics previously reported. A FI, developed and validated from a brief geriatric assessment tool could be used to identify ED patients at higher risk of adverse events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-248
Number of pages7
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency department
  • Frail older adults
  • Frailty index
  • Geriatric assessment
  • Geriatric emergency medicine
  • Older people


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