Frailty is a condition of increased vulnerability to major changes in health as a result of seemingly small problems, such as an infection or new medication. It is common in older age, affecting around 10% of people aged over 65, and develops because as we get older our bodies change and can lose their inbuilt reserves, for example we lose muscle strength. People with frailty are at increased risk of falls, disability, loneliness, hospitalisation and care home admission. These problems can reduce quality of life and are costly for the NHS and social care.
We have received £2.7 million of funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research to develop and test a new type of care which aims to improve the quality of life for older people with frailty by giving them choice and control over decisions about their own health and wellbeing.
The new type of care, called personalised care planning, is designed to improve self-management skills and help older people with frailty to improve their wellbeing and thrive with the support of their community. This approach also aims to improve coordination of GP, voluntary sector and social care services and increase the social networks of older people with frailty.
The overall aim of this five year research programme is to find out whether personalised care planning improves quality of life for older people living with frailty, and is cost-effective. In work package 1 the team identified which people would most benefit from personalised care planning by studying how quality of life and use of health and social care services changes as frailty develops. Following a successful feasibility study they have now refined the intervention and are planning to test the PCP approach in a population of 1337 across Yorkshire and the North West of England.