Forum Assistant Director awarded CIHR research grant to support optimal approaches in addressing frailty in older adults

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) recently announced that an interdisciplinary team of researchers, co-led by the McMaster Health Forum’s Assistant Director Michael Wilson, has been awarded a $100,000 grant to support optimal approaches in addressing frailty in older adults.

Frailty has been associated with greater risks of disabilities in basic and instrumental activities of daily living, chronic illnesses, greater reliance on in-home services, hospitalization, institutionalization, and premature mortality.

Frail elderly are “older adults or aged individuals who are lacking in general strength and are unusually susceptible to disease or to other infirmity”. Many systematic reviews have evaluated the effectiveness of interventions to prevent, delay, or decrease frailty symptoms, but no effort has been made to identify, map, and synthesize the findings from reviews across the full spectrum of interventions.

Wilson and team will conduct an overview of systematic reviews that will address this gap by:

  1. synthesizing findings from all existing systematic reviews evaluating interventions for preventing, delaying onset, or decreasing the burden of frailty symptoms; and
  2. examining different conceptualizations of frailty that have been used in the development and implementation of interventions.

The resulting overview of systematic reviews will then be used to develop an evidence brief that mobilizes the best available evidence about the problem related to supporting integrated care for frail older adults, and identifies three policy and programmatic options to address the problem and implementation considerations. The evidence brief will then be used as the input into a stakeholder dialogue, which will engage 18-22 Canadian health-system leaders (including policymakers, health providers, researchers and other stakeholders) in ‘off-the-record’ deliberations to inform future actions and policymaking.