Public Health Impact of Frailty: Role of Physical Therapists.

Frailty is an emerging and immediate public health concern given the growing aging population. The condition of frailty is characterized by a reduction in physiologic reserve, which places frail older adults at considerable risk for further functional decline, hospitalization, institutionalization, and death. Recent research suggests that frailty may be reversible, which could result in significant improvement in public health. Thus, a strong impetus exists to develop strategies for frail older adults that achieve the Triple Aim through better promotion of population health, optimization of patient experiences, and delivery of high-quality care at minimal cost. Physical therapists often treat frail older adults, yet how physical therapists can contribute to preventing or reversing frailty in healthcare settings has not been described, and may potentially influence patient outcomes and healthcare spending. Therefore, the purpose of this publication is to outline the potential role of physical therapists in achieving the Triple Aim for the frail older adult population.