Looking for frailty in community-dwelling older persons: the Gérontopôle Frailty Screening Tool (GFST)

B Vellas, L Balardy, S Gillette-Guyonnet, G Abellan Van Kan, A Ghisolfi-Marque, J Subra, S Bismuth, S Oustric, M Cesari
Journal of Nutrition, Health & Aging 2013, 17 (7): 629-31
The frailty syndrome is a pre-disability condition suitable to be targeted by preventive interventions against disability. In order to identify frail older persons at risk of negative outcomes, general practitioners must be provided with an easy and quick screening tool for detecting frailty without special effort. In the present paper, we present the screening tool for frailty that the Gérontopôle of Toulouse (France) has developed and implemented in primary care in the region with the collaboration of the Department of Family Medicine of the University of Toulouse. The Gérontopôle Frailty Screening Tool (GFST) is designed to be administered to persons aged ≥65 years with no physical disability and acute clinical disease. It is composed by an initial questionnaire aimed at attracting the general practitioner's attention to very general signs and/or symptoms suggesting the presence of an underlying frailty status. Then, in a second section, the general practitioner expresses his/her own view about the frailty status of the individual. The clinical judgment of the general practitioner is finally retained for determining the eventual presence of frailty. Preliminary data document that almost everyone (95.2%) of the 442 patients referred to the Gérontopôle frailty clinic by general practitioners using the GFST indeed presents a condition of (pre-)frailty according to the criteria proposed by Fried and colleagues in the Cardiovascular Health Study. The use of the GFST may help at raising awareness about the importance of identifying frailty, training healthcare professionals at the detection of the syndrome, and developing preventive interventions against disabling conditions.

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