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Age Ageing. 2015 May;44(3):471-7. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afv010. Epub 2015 Feb 16.

Measuring frailty using self-report and test-based health measures.

Author information

1
Dalhousie University, Geriatric Medicine, Veterans' Memorial Building, 5955 Veterans' Memorial Lane, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H2E1, Canada.
2
The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland.
3
The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing, Department of Medical Gerontology, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland Mercer's Institute for Successful Ageing, St. James's Hospital, Dublin 8, Ireland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

previously, frailty indices were constructed using mostly subjective health measures. The reporting error in this type of measure can have implications on the robustness of frailty findings.

OBJECTIVE:

to examine whether frailty assessment differs when we construct frailty indices using solely self-reported or test-based health measures.

DESIGN:

secondary analysis of data from The Irish LongituDinal study on Ageing (TILDA).

SUBJECTS AND METHODS:

4,961 Irish residents (mean age: 61.9 ± 8.4; 54.2% women) over the age of 50 years who underwent a health assessment were included in this analysis. We constructed three frailty indices using 33 self-reported health measures (SRFI), 33 test-based health measures (TBFI) and all 66 measures combined (CFI). The 2-year follow-up outcomes examined were all-cause mortality, disability, hospitalisation and falls.

RESULTS:

all three indices had a right-skewed distribution, an upper limit to frailty, a non-linear increase with age, and had a dose-response relationship with adverse outcomes. Levels of frailty were lower when self-reported items were used (SRFI: 0.12 ± 0.09; TBFI: 0.17 ± 0.15; CFI: 0.14 ± 0.13). Men had slightly higher frailty index scores than women when test-based measures were used (men: 0.17 ± 0.09; women: 0.16 ± 0.10). CFI had the strongest prediction for risk of adverse outcomes (ROC: 0.64-0.81), and age was not a significant predictor when it was included in the regression model.

CONCLUSIONS:

except for sex differences, characteristics of frailty are similar regardless of whether self-reported or test-based measures are used exclusively to construct a frailty index. Where available, self-reported and test-based measures should be combined when trying to identify levels of frailty.

KEYWORDS:

frailty; frailty index; older people; self-reported health measures; test-based health measures

PMID:
25687601
PMCID:
PMC4411224
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/afv010
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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