Frailty intervention trial (FIT)
Fairhall, N, Aggar, C, Kurrle, SE, Sherrington, C, Lord, S, Lockwood, K, Monaghan, N & Cameron, ID 2008, 'Frailty intervention trial (FIT)', BMC Geriatrics, vol. 8, no. 27.
Background: Frailty is a term commonly used to describe the condition of an older person who has chronic health problems, has lost functional abilities and is likely to deteriorate further. However, despite its common use, only a small number of studies have attempted to define the syndrome of frailty and measure its prevalence. The criteria Fried and colleagues used to define the frailty syndrome will be used in this study (i.e. weight loss, fatigue, decreased grip strength, slow gait speed, and low physical activity). Previous studies have shown that clinical outcomes for frail older people can be improved using multi-factorial interventions such as comprehensive geriatric assessment, and single interventions such as exercise programs or nutritional supplementation, but no interventions have been developed to specifically reverse the syndrome of frailty.
We have developed a multidisciplinary intervention that specifically targets frailty as defined by Fried et al. We aim to establish the effects of this intervention on frailty, mobility, hospitalisation and institutionalisation in frail older people.
Methods and Design: A single centre randomised controlled trial comparing a multidisciplinary intervention with usual care. The intervention will target identified characteristics of frailty, functional limitations, nutritional status, falls risk, psychological issues and management of chronic health conditions. Two hundred and thirty people aged 70 and over who meet the Fried definition of frailty will be recruited from clients of the aged care service of a metropolitan hospital. Participants will be followed for a 12-month period.
Discussion: This research is an important step in the examination of specifically targeted frailty interventions. This project will assess whether an intervention specifically targeting frailty can be implemented, and whether it is effective when compared to usual care. If successful, the study will establish a new approach to the treatment of older people at risk of further functional decline and institutionalisation. The strategies to be examined are readily transferable to routine clinical practice and are applicable broadly in the setting of aged care health services.