Background One of the most problematic expression of ageing is frailty, and an approach based on its early identification is mandatory. The Sunfrail-tool (ST), a 9-item questionnaire, is a promising instrument for screening frailty.
• To assess the diagnostic accuracy and the construct validity between the ST and a Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment
(CGA), composed by six tests representative of the bio-psycho-social model of frailty;
• To verify the discriminating power of five key-questions of the ST;
• To investigate the role of the ST in a clinical-pathway of falls’ prevention.
Methods In this retrospective study, we enrolled 235 patients from the Frailty-Multimorbidity Lab of the University-Hospital of Parma. The STs’ answers were obtained from the patient’s clinical information. A patient was considered frail if at least one of the CGAs’ tests resulted positive.
Results The ST was associated with the CGA’s judgement with an Area Under the Curve of 0.691 (CI 95%: 0.591–0.791). Each CGA’s test was associated with the ST total score. The five key-question showed a potential discriminating power in the CGA’s tests of the corresponding domains. The fall-related question of the ST was significantly associated with the Short Physical Performance Battery total score (OR: 0.839, CI 95%: 0.766–0.918), a proxy of the risk of falling.
Discussion The results suggest that the ST can capture the complexity of frailty. The ST showed a good discriminating power, and it can guide a second-level assessment to key frailty domains and/or clinical pathways.
Conclusions The ST is a valid and easy-to-use instrument for the screening of frailty.