Understanding Frailty Screening: a Domain Mapping Exercise
Many definitions and operationalisations of frailty exclude psychosocial factors, such as social isolation and mental health, despite considerable evidence of the links between frailty and these factors. This study aimed to investigate the health domains covered by frailty screening tools.
A systematic search of the literature was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines. MEDLINE, CINAHL, EMBASE, and PsycInfo were searched from inception to December 31, 2018. Data related to the domains of each screening tool were extracted and mapped onto a framework based on the biopsychosocial model of Lehmans et al. (2009) and Wade & Halligans (2017).
Sixty-seven frailty screening tools were captured in 79 articles. All screening tools assessed biological factors, 73% assessed psychological factors, 52% assessed social factors, and 78% assessed contextual factors. Under half (43%) of the tools evaluated all four domains, 33% evaluated three of four domains, 12% reported two of four domains, and 13% reported one domain (biological).
This review found considerable variation in the assessment domains covered by frailty screening tools. Frailty is a broad construct, and frailty screening tools need to cover a wide variety of domains to enhance screening and outcomes assessment.