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JFSF Vol 4, No 3, September 2019, p.71-77

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-04-071

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Original Article

Current practice in the diagnosis and management of sarcopenia and frailty – results from a UK-wide survey

Natalie J. Offord1, Andrew Clegg2, Gill Turner3, Richard M. Dodds4,5,6, Avan A. Sayer4,5,6, Miles D. Witham4,5,6

  1. Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK
  2. Academic Unit of Elderly Care & Rehabilitation (University of Leeds), Bradford Institute for Health Research, Bradford, UK
  3. Lymington Hospital, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
  4. AGE Research Group, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
  5. NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University, UK
  6. Newcastle University Institute for Ageing, UK

Keywords: Sarcopenia, Frailty, Survey, Questionnaire, Older people


Abstract

Objectives: Despite a rising clinical and research profile, there is limited information about how frailty and sarcopenia are diagnosed and managed in clinical practice. Our objective was to build a picture of current practice by conducting a survey of UK healthcare professionals. Methods: We surveyed healthcare professionals in NHS organisations, using a series of four questionnaires. These focussed on the diagnosis and management of sarcopenia, and the diagnosis and management of frailty in acute medical units, community settings and surgical units. Results: Response rates ranged from 49/177 (28%) organisations for the sarcopenia questionnaire to 104/177 (59%) for the surgical unit questionnaire. Less than half of responding organisations identified sarcopenia; few made the diagnosis using a recognised algorithm or offered resistance training. The commonest tools used to identify frailty were the Rockwood Clinical Frailty Scale or presence of a frailty syndrome. Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment was offered by the majority of organisations, but this included exercise therapy in less than half of cases, and medication review in only one-third to two-thirds of cases. Conclusions: Opportunities exist to improve consistency of diagnosis and delivery of evidence-based interventions for both sarcopenia and frailty.