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Irish Study
Prevalence of frailty-related risk factors in older adults seen by community nurses
Ballard J; Mooney M; Dempsey O
Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(3): 675–684


Aims.: To describe the frequency of four frailty-related risk factors in a cohort of older adults visited by community nurses in Dublin, Ireland.
Background.: The Irish public health nursing service allows for both professional and self referral. Risk factors examined were suspected cognitive impairment, nutritional and fall risk, and activities of daily living dependence.
Design.: Retrospective cross-sectional clinical audit.
Methods.: The study incorporated a retrospective clinical audit of files (N = 120) obtained from community nursing visits over 9 months in 2009–2010. A chi-square analysis tested for association between each risk factor and oldest age, living alone, professional referral to the nursing service, and presence of formal home support.
Findings revealed a cohort prevalence of suspected cognitive impairment at 16·4%. Risk of malnutrition and risk of a fall were 20·2% and 30·8%, respectively. The cohort was dependent in activities of daily living at a rate of 23·5%. Participants dependent in activities of daily living were less likely to live alone and were more likely to have referred themselves to community nursing. Associations between the four frailty-related risk factors and receiving formal home support were not significant.
Conclusion.: This study results suggest that dependency in activities of daily living (an outcome of frailty) is strongly associated with a decreased likelihood of living alone and increased likelihood of referring oneself to community nursing services. Further research is necessary to examine how frailty screening in the referral process may enhance identification of older adults' community nursing needs in Dublin, Ireland

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