Cesari M, Demougeot L, Boccalon H, et al.
PLoS One 2014;9:e101745
Publication date: July 7, 2014
The detection of frail older individuals living in the community represents a crucial preliminary step in the development of effective prevention against disability and age-related conditions. However, currently available screening tools for the identification of frail older persons have two major limitations: very few are designed for self-completion, and none discriminates between frailty and disability.
In order to foster the identification of non-disabled older persons living in the community, the authors designed the Frail non-Disabled (FiND) questionnaire, which follows the main multidimensional construct of the widely adopted frailty phenotype, but also includes a specific section for excluding the presence of mobility disability. The FiND questionnaire consists of five questions: two are specifically aimed at identifying individuals with mobility disability, and three assess components of the frailty syndrome: weight loss, exhaustion and sedentary behavior.
The agreement between the results of the self-administered FiND questionnaire and reference instruments measuring the frailty syndrome (Fried phenotype) and disability (inability to complete a 400-meter walk test) was assessed in 45 community-dwelling individuals aged 60 years or older. The participants were asked to autonomously complete the FiND questionnaire, and then a blind assessor objectively measured the frailty and mobility disability with the reference instruments.
Twenty-five participants (55.6%) were frail or pre-frail according to the frailty phenotype criteria, and 7 (15.6%) were found to have mobility disability. There was substantial agreement between the FiND questionnaire and the reference instruments as to the prevalence of frailty and the identification of non-disabled frail participants; only 7 individuals (15.6%) were incorrectly categorized.
The authors note that, as the FiND questionnaire is the only tool designed for differentiating frailty from disability while allowing self-evaluation, it may represent an opportunity for increasing awareness about frailty and disability among community-dwelling older persons and for supporting preventive campaigns.