Frailty Management Practices for Older Adults in Primary Care Clinics: A Cross-Sectional Study


  • Véronique Roy
  • Clare Liddy
  • Sathya Karunananthan
  • Chantal Backman


Objective: To describe practices used to diagnose and manage frailty in primary care clinics, prior to the implementation of the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement Initiative. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of the current frailty management practices in a convenience sample of five primary care clinics in Ottawa, Canada. Data was collected using a survey and qualitative content analysis of the survey data was performed. Results: None of the clinics had established a systematic frailty screening or management program. Primary care providers reported informally using select screening tools, clinical instinct, and case findings in their day-to-day practice to identify patients with frailty and refer them to community resources. Frailty identification and management varied across the clinics and across providers within the same clinic. Conclusion: Our findings indicate that primary care providers recognize the need to identify and manage frailty in their clinical practice. In the absence of guidelines or training, providers are developing their own strategies to address frailty.