Objective: To examine the association between physical frailty and risk of needing long-term care, and compare the predictive value and clinical usefulness of a simple frailty scale (FRAIL) with that of the original Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) criteria. Design and Setting: A 6-year prospective cohort study of community-dwelling older adults in a west Japanese suburban town. Participants: 1,554 older adults aged 65 years and over who were initially free of long-term care needs at baseline. Measurements: Physical frailty was defined by the CHS criteria and the FRAIL scale. The onset of needing long-term care was ascertained using national records of certification of long-term care needs. Cox proportional hazard models were used to estimate the association between physical frailty and risk of needing long-term care. Decision curve analysis was performed to compare the clinical usefulness of the two physical frailty criteria. Results: During a median follow-up of 5.8 years, 244 were ascertained as needing long-term care. Baseline physical frailty was significantly associated with elevated risk of needing long-term care, with a multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio (HR) of 2.00 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.32–3.02) for being frail and 1.50 (95% CI, 1.10–2.03) for being pre-frail as defined by the CHS criteria, compared with being robust (p for trend = 0.001). Similar results were found for physical frailty defined by the FRAIL scale, with a multivariable-adjusted HR (95% CIs) of 2.11 (1.25–3.56) for being frail and 1.73 (1.28–2.35) for being pre-frail vs. being robust (p for trend < 0.001). The two physical frailty criteria had similar net benefits in identifying individuals at high risk for needing long-term care. Conclusions: Physical frailty is significantly associated with an increased risk of needing long-term care in community-dwelling older adults in Japan. Compared with the original CHS criteria, the simple FRAIL scale has comparable predictive value and clinical usefulness for identifying individuals at risk for needing long-term care.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics
- Geriatrics and Gerontology