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Frailty in general practice

Providing an overview of an extended role in frailty.

Routine GP work in frailty

The British Geriatric Society defines frailty as:

“A distinctive health state related to the ageing process in which multiple body systems gradually lose their in-built reserves.”

GPs are looking after an increasingly complex population living with multiple health conditions, with multiple medications, at home and in community settings, managing risk safely, and co-ordinating care. It is core work for most GPs to work with patients with complex care needs and frailty.

Overview of the frailty extended role

This role primarily looks after the older population living with frailty and other complex care needs. Patients being cared for by the GPwER typically have a combination of physiological, psychological and social needs requiring support from many services including primary, secondary and community care, as well as social and voluntary care services. A loss of resilience means people do not recover as quickly after a physical or mental illness, an accident or other stressful event.