Aims/Objectives/Background Frailty screening for major trauma patients has recently become part of the best practice commissioning tariff within NHS England, yet there is no consensus as to who should carry out this assessment or which tool best identifies frailty in the Emergency Department (ED). As the trauma population ages there is a need for accurate early identification of frailty in the ED to underpin frailty specific major trauma pathways. The primary aim of this study was to determine the feasibility and accuracy of ED nurse-led frailty assessment in patients ≥ 65 years admitted to Major Trauma Centres (MTCs).
Methods/Design A prospective observational study was conducted across five UK MTCs, enrolling 370 participants over nine months. Eligible patients were aged 65 or more requiring trauma team activation. Frailty was assessed in the ED using three different tools: Trauma Specific Frailty Index (TSFI); Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS); PRISMA-7. ED nurse frailty assessment was correlated with Geriatrician assessment within 72 hours of admission using Spearman’s correlation coefficient and kappa statistic for measuring the interrater agreement.
Results/Conclusions Complete frailty assessments were calculated for CFS in 99.4% of patients, PRISMA7 in 95.9% and TSFI in 37.58%. Rates of frailty differed between tools: CFS 32%, PRISMA7 57% and TSFI 92% whilst Geriatrician determined frailty was 37%. In all tools frail patients were older (p<0.001) and falls <2 m were the leading mechanism of injury (p<0.05). CFS showed both strong correlation (rs 0.639,p<0.001) and substantial agreement (kappa 0.637,p<0.001) with Geriatrician assessment within 72 hours of admission.
ED nurses can accurately assess older major trauma patients for frailty using the Clinical Frailty Scale. These findings support assessment of frailty in the ED in order to identify patients who would benefit from early frailty specific care.
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