Search JFSF

JFSF Vol 6, No 4, December 2021, p.209-217

doi: 10.22540/JFSF-06-209


Original Article

Frailty associations with socioeconomic status, healthcare utilisation and quality of life among older women residing in regional Australia

Shi-Jynn Yong1,2, Stella M. Gwini2,3,4, Monica C. Tembo2,4, Boon L. Ng1,2, Chong Han Low1,2, Robert G. Malon1,2, Trisha L. Dunning5, Julie A. Pasco2,4, Mark A. Kotowicz2,4,6

  1. Department of Geriatric Medicine, Barwon Health, Victoria, Australia
  2. School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, Deakin University, Victoria, Australia
  3. Biostatistics Support Unit, Barwon Health, Victoria, Australia
  4. Institute for Mental and Physical Health and Clinical Translation (IMPACT), Barwon Health, Victoria, Australia
  5. Centre for Quality and Patient Safety Research (QPS), Barwon Health Partnership with Deakin University, Victoria, Australia
  6. Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Barwon Health, Victoria, Australia

Keywords: Frailty, Healthcare utilisation, Older women, SES, QOL


Objectives: The health and well-being of older women may be influenced by frailty and low socioeconomic status (SES). This study examined the association between frailty and SES, healthcare utilisation and quality of life (QOL) among older women in regional Australia. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of the Geelong Osteoporosis Study was conducted on 360 women (ages ≥60yr) in the 15-year follow up. Frailty was identified using modified Fried’s phenotype. Individual SES measures and healthcare utilisation were documented by questionnaire. Area-based SES was determined by cross-referencing residential addresses with the Australian Bureau of Statistics Index of Relative Socio-economic Advantage and Disadvantage (IRSAD). QOL was measured using the Australian World Health Organisation Quality of Life Instrument (WHOQoL-Bref). Multinomial logistic regression was conducted with frailty groupings as outcome. Results: Sixty-two (17.2%) participants were frail, 199 (55.3%) pre-frail and 99 (27.5%) robust. Frail participants were older with higher body mass index. Frailty was associated with lower education but not marital status, occupation or IRSAD. Strong associations with frailty were demonstrated for all WHOQoL-Bref domains. Frailty was associated with more primary care doctor visits (p<0.001). Conclusions: This population-based study highlights the significant impact of frailty on older women, indicating reduced QOL and increased primary care doctor visits.