Feasibility, acceptability and diagnostic test accuracy of frailty screening instruments in community-dwelling older people within the Australian general practice setting: a study protocol for a cross-sectional study


Frailty is one of the most challenging aspects of population ageing due to its association with increased risk of poor health outcomes and quality of life. General practice provides an ideal setting for the prevention and management of frailty via the implementation of preventive measures such as early identification through screening.

Methods and analysis

Our study will evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and diagnostic test accuracy of several screening instruments in diagnosing frailty among community-dwelling Australians aged 75+ years who have recently made an appointment to see their general practitioner (GP). We will recruit 240 participants across 2 general practice sites within South Australia. We will invite eligible patients to participate and consent to the study via mail. Consenting participants will attend a screening appointment to undertake the index tests: 2 self-reported (Reported Edmonton Frail Scale and Kihon Checklist) and 5 (Frail Scale, Groningen Frailty Index, Program on Research for Integrating Services for the Maintenance of Autonomy (PRISMA-7), Edmonton Frail Scale and Gait Speed Test) administered by a practice nurse (a Registered Nurse working in general practice). We will randomise test order to reduce bias. Psychosocial measures will also be collected via questionnaire at the appointment. A blinded researcher will then administer two reference standards (the Frailty Phenotype and Adelaide Frailty Index). We will determine frailty by a cut-point of 3 of 5 criteria for the Phenotype and 9 of 42 items for the AFI. We will determine accuracy by analysis of sensitivity, specificity, predictive values and likelihood ratios. We will assess feasibility and acceptability by: 1) collecting data about the instruments prior to collection; 2) interviewing screeners after data collection; 3) conducting a pilot survey with a 10% sample of participants.

BMJ Open 2017;7:e016663