Frailty Viewed From a Nursing Perspective

Robbert Gobbens en Izabella Uchmanowicz
Soort object
Abstract Introduction: More and more researchers are convinced that frailty should refer not only to physical limitations but also to psychological and social limitations that older people may have. Such a broad, or multidimensional, definition of frailty fits better with nursing, in which a holistic view of human beings, and thus their total functioning, is the starting point. Purpose: In this article, which should be considered a Practice Update, we aim at emphasizing the importance of the inclusion of other domains of human functioning in the definition and measurement of frailty. In addition, we provide a description of how district nurses view frailty in older people. Finally, we present interventions that nurses can perform to prevent or delay frailty or its adverse outcomes. We present, in particular, results from studies in which the Tilburg Frailty Indicator, a multidimensional frailty instrument, was used. Conclusion: The importance of a multidimensional assessment of frailty was demonstrated by usually satisfactory results concerning adverse outcomes of mortality, disability, an increase in healthcare utilization, and lower quality of life. Not many studies have been performed on nurses’ opinions about frailty. Starting from a multidimensional definition of frailty, encompassing physical, psychological, and social domains, nurses are able to assess and diagnose frailty and conduct a variety of interventions to prevent or reduce frailty and its adverse effects. Because nurses come into frequent contact with frail older people, we recommend future studies on opinions of nurses about frailty (e.g., screening, prevention, and addressing).