Original Study| Volume 21, ISSUE 6, P766-771.e1, June 2020

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Frailty Index Status of Canadian Home Care Clients Improves With Exercise Therapy and Declines in the Presence of Polypharmacy



      This study aimed to investigate if exercise therapy and polypharmacy was associated with frailty state transitions for home care service recipients.


      Longitudinal cohort-study using client-level health information collected using interRAI home care (RAI-HC) assessments.


      Population-based study with Canadian home care clients in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and the Yukon.


      Home care clients aged 65 years and older.


      A Markov chain multistate transition logistic regression model was used to calculate ORs for state transitions with exercise therapy and polypharmacy as independent variables.


      In total, 250,428 home care clients experiencing 402,005 frailty state transitions were included in the analyses. At baseline, 39.4% of clients were categorized as nonfrail, 30.2% were categorized as prefrail, and 30.4% were categorized as frail. Nonfrail clients using polypharmacy were more likely to become prefrail (OR 1.16) and frail (OR 1.11). Pre-frail clients using polypharmacy were more likely to become frail (OR 1.06), and they were less likely to become nonfrail (OR 0.80). Frail clients using polypharmacy were significantly less likely to become prefrail (OR 0.82) or nonfrail (OR 0.62). Nonfrail clients who participated in exercise therapy were more likely to become prefrail (OR 1.05). Prefrail clients who participated in exercise therapy were more likely to become nonfrail (OR 1.26). Frail clients who participated in exercise therapy were more likely to become nonfrail (OR 1.27) and prefrail (OR 1.12).

      Conclusions and Implications

      This study suggests that frailty among home care clients can be reversed. Frailty state improvement occurred significantly more often among home care clients receiving exercise therapy and significantly less often among clients with polypharmacy.


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