Rachel Shaw, Holly Gwyther, Carol Holland, Maria Bujknowska-Fedak, Donata Kurpas, Antonio Cano, Maura Marcucci and Barbara D’Avanzo have had a paper accepted for publication in Ageing and Society titled ‘Understanding frailty: meanings and beliefs about screening and prevention across key stakeholder groups in Europe’.
The paper should be available online soon but the abstract can be found below.
Innovative methods to manage frailty are critical to managing the needs of an ageing population. Evidence suggests there are opportunities to reverse or prevent frailty through early intervention. However, little is known about older adults’, families’ and practitioners’ beliefs about the malleability of frailty. This study examined European stakeholders’ accounts of the acceptability and feasibility of frailty screening and prevention to inform future intervention development. Semi-structured focus groups and individual interviews were conducted in three EU countries (Italy, Poland, UK) with key stakeholders – frail and non-frail older adults, family caregivers, and health and social care professionals. Thematic analysis identified four themes: synchronicity between the physical and the psychological in frailty, living with frailty in the social world, the need for a new kind of care, screening for and preventing frailty. Findings emphasized the need for a holistic approach to frailty care and early intervention. Integrated care services and advocacy were important in the organization of care. Central to all stakeholders was the significance of the psychological and social alongside the physical elements of frailty and frailty prevention. Support and care for older adults and their family caregivers needs to be accessible and coordinated. Interventions to prevent frailty must encompass a social dimension to help older adults maintain a sense of self while building physical and psychological resilience.