Frailty impacts older adults’ ability to recover from an acute illness, injuries and other stresses. Currently, a systematic synthesis of available interventions to prevent or reduce frailty does not exist. Therefore, the team conducted a scoping review of interventions and international policies designed to prevent or reduce the level of frailty in community-dwelling older adults.
The authors conducted a scoping review using the framework of Arksey and O’Malley. They systematically searched articles and grey literature to identify interventions and policies that aimed to prevent or reduce the level of frailty. Fourteen studies were included: 12 randomised controlled trials and 2 cohort studies (mean number of participants 260 (range 51-610)), with most research conducted in USA and Japan. The study quality was moderate to good. The interventions included physical activity; physical activity combined with nutrition; physical activity plus nutrition plus memory training; home modifications; prehabilitation (physical therapy plus exercise plus home modifications) and comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA). The review showed that the interventions that significantly reduced the number of frailty markers present or the prevalence of frailty included the physical activity interventions (all types and combinations), and prehabilitation. The CGA studies had mixed findings.
Nine of the 14 studies reported that the intervention reduced the level of frailty. The results need to be interpreted with caution, as only 14 studies using 6 different definitions of frailty were retained. Future research could combine interventions targeting more frailty markers including cognitive or psychosocial well-being.