Frailty and its significance in older people’s nursing
Learning zone continuing professional development Previous     Next

Frailty and its significance in older people’s nursing

Hazel Heath Independent nurse, Consultant for older people, London
Lynne Phair Consultant nurse, Older people (safeguarding adults), NHS West Sussex, Worthing

The term frail is commonly used to describe older people, but reports on the care of older adults in hospital highlight that the clinical implications of frailty are not understood fully by all nurses. Frailty can be an indicator of older people’s health status and healthcare needs. An understanding of frailty and its mechanisms will help nurses to determine care priorities, particularly the urgency for anticipatory, proactive, preventive and compensatory care to prevent unnecessary mortality and morbidity. This article discusses the significance of frailty in older people’s nursing. It highlights the responsibility of registered nurses to recognise deterioration in health as a result of frailty and to implement appropriate interventions.


Nursing Standard. 26, 3,50-56. doi: 10.7748/ns.26.3.50.s50

Published in print: 27 September 2011

Peer review

All articles are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

You need a subscription to read the full article