Frailty Screening and Case-Finding for Complex Chronic Conditions in Older Adults in Primary Care
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With the aging population, escalating demand for seniors' care and limited specialist resources, new care delivery models are needed to improve capacity for primary health care for older adults. This paper describes the "C5-75" (Case-finding for Complex Chronic Conditions in Seniors 75+) program, an innovative care model aimed at identifying frailty and commonly associated geriatric conditions among older adults within a Canadian family practice setting and targeting interventions for identified conditions using a feasible, systematic, evidence-informed multi-disciplinary approach. We screen annually for frailty using gait speed and handgrip strength, screen for previously undiagnosed comorbid conditions, and offer frail older adults multi-faceted interventions that identify and address unrecognized medical and psychosocial needs. To date, we have assessed 965 older adults through this program; 14% were identified as frail based on gait speed alone, and 5% identified as frail based on gait speed with grip strength. The C5-75 program aims to re-conceptualize care from reactive interventions post-diagnosis for single disease states to a more proactive approach aimed at identifying older adults who are at highest risk of poor health outcomes, case-finding for unrecognized co-existing conditions, and targeting interventions to maintain health and well-being and potentially reduce vulnerability and health destabilization.