Original Study| Volume 19, ISSUE 5, P450-457.e3, May 2018

Frailty in Hospitalized Older Adults: Comparing Different Frailty Measures in Predicting Short- and Long-term Patient Outcomes

Published:November 15, 2017DOI:



      Data for the assessment of frailty in acutely ill hospitalized older adults remains limited. Using the Frailty Index (FI) as “gold standard,” we compared (1) the diagnostic performance of 3 frailty measures (FRAIL, Clinical Frailty Scale [CFS], and Tilburg Frailty Indicator [TFI]) in identifying frailty, and (2) their ability to predict negative outcomes at 12 months after enrollment.


      Prospective cohort study.


      We recruited 210 patients (mean age 89.4 ± 4.6 years, 69.5% female), admitted to the Department of Geriatric Medicine in a 1300-bed tertiary hospital.


      Premorbid frailty status was determined. Data on comorbidities, severity of illness, functional status, and cognitive status were gathered. We compared area under receiver operator characteristic curves (AUC) for each frailty measure against the reference FI. Multiple logistic regression was used to examine the independent association between frailty and the outcomes of interest.


      Frailty prevalence estimates were 87.1% (FI), 81.0% (CFS), 80.0% (TFI), and 50.0% (FRAIL). AUC against FI ranged from 0.81 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.72–0.90: FRAIL) to 0.91 (95% CI 0.87–0.95: CFS). Only FRAIL was associated with higher in-hospital mortality (6.7% vs 1.0%, P = .031). FRAIL and CFS were significantly associated with increased length of hospitalization (10 [6.0–17.5] vs 8 [5.0–14.0] days, P = .043 and 9 [5.0–17.0] vs 7 [4.25–11.75] days, P = .036, respectively). CFS and FI were highly associated with mortality at 12-month (CFS, frail vs nonfrail: 32.9% vs 2.5%, P < .001, and FI, frail vs nonfrail: 30.6% vs 3.7%, P < .001). CFS also conferred the greatest risk of 12-month mortality (odds ratio [OR] 5.78, 95% CI 3.19–10.48, P < .001) and composite outcomes of institutionalization and/or mortality (OR 3.69, 95% CI 2.31–5.88, P < .001), adjusted for age, sex, and severity of illness.


      Our study affirms the utility of frailty assessment tools among older persons in acute care. FRAIL conferred highest risk of in-hospital mortality. However, CFS had greatest risk of mortality and institutionalization within 12 months.


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