Frailty (health and wellbeing needs in South Tyneside)


Frailty is defined as a state of health whereby an individual's physical and/or mental reserve is impaired due to age or comorbidity. This affects their ability to cope with insults such as change of environment, illness or medication, which in turn impairs quality of life and predisposes to earlier morbidity and mortality.

Evidence has shown that timely identification and assessment (using tools such as The Rockwood Frailty Scale, the Electronic Frailty Index and PRISMA 7) of such individuals allows for increased social and medical attention, thereby reducing risks of medical and social sequelae and promoting greater personal independence (NICE 2015). This in turn can reduce healthcare burden and produce a better quality of life for patients. This applies to both adults and children, however this paper will address the needs of adults only within the South Tyneside borough.

Within the UK, over 10% of patient of the population over the age of 65 have a degree of frailty, and 25.5% of those over 85 are defined as frail. Currently data is being collected using the Electronic Frailty Index throughout the borough so up to date prevalence rates on a local level are not available. Frailty is strongly associated with age and the consequences thereof, and is higher amongst women. With rising costs of medical care and reduced governmental spend on social care, the impact of frailty is becoming increasingly relevant.