Frailty, Diversity & Communication

Helping clinicians to have richer conversations about frailty.

Work around frailty and communication is not new. The People’s Description of Frailty, co-constructed through the work of the London Clinical Frailty network, is as follows:

“Frailty is a word that may be used to describe your state of health or that of someone you care for. Being described as ‘frail’, having ‘frailty’ or ‘living with frailty’ may occur

when your body loses its natural reserves. This may be due to a range of factors such as illness, disability or aspects of the ageing process”.

This definition does not work perfectly for everybody, but no definition ever could. It works well as one ‘tool in the toolbox’ for communicating about frailty. The question is, what other tools help to describe frailty and help patients to describe their own experiences of frailty?

We were commissioned by the London Clinical Frailty Network and worked in partnership with UCLPartners to help answer this question by engaging with a broad range of people beginning to experience frailty and related health services to understand their thoughts, feelings and vocabulary around frailty and to test the People’s Description of Frailty. The goal being to help clinicians have richer conversations about frailty with as diverse a range of individuals as possible. 

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