UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Geriatrics

Title: Importance of Frailty Screening in ED patients

Keywords: Geriatrics, frailty, screening (PubMed Search)

Posted: 5/27/2024 by Robert Flint, MD
Click here to contact Robert Flint, MD

This Delphi study and companion editorial highlight current thought on frailty screen in emergency department patients. Key takeaways are:

  1. Those with a high degree of frailty may have different care goals and needs than those with lower frailty. 
    2. Screening should include functional status in the past 2-4 weeks. 
    3. Screening should include functional ability, cognition, mobility, medication use and social situation. 
    4. Screening is practical and can be completed quickly. 
    5. Screening should occur in the first 4 hours of an ED visit. 
    6. ED protocols designed for streamlined, single problem focused visits won’t work well for those with a high degree of frailty.

Emergency departments should be instituting procedures that incorporate screening older patients for frailty. These references are a good starting point.


  1. Elizabeth Moloney, Mark R O’Donovan, Christopher R Carpenter, Fabio Salvi, Elsa Dent, Simon Mooijaart, Emiel O Hoogendijk, Jean Woo, John Morley, Ruth E Hubbard, Matteo Cesari, Emer Ahern, Roman Romero-Ortuno, Rosa Mcnamara, Anne O’Keefe, Ann Healy, Pieter Heeren, Darren Mcloughlin, Conor Deasy, Louise Martin, Audrey Anne Brousseau, Duygu Sezgin, Paul Bernard, Kara Mcloughlin, Jiraporn Sri-On, Don Melady, Lucinda Edge, Ide O’Shaughnessy, Jill Van Damme, Magnolia Cardona, Jennifer Kirby, Lauren Southerland, Andrew Costa, Douglas Sinclair, Cathy Maxwell, Marie Doyle, Ebony Lewis, Grace Corcoran, Debra Eagles, Frances Dockery, Simon Conroy, Suzanne Timmons, Rónán O’Caoimh, Core requirements of frailty screening in the emergency department: an international Delphi consensus study, Age and Ageing, Volume 53, Issue 2, February 2024, afae013,
  2. James David van Oppen, Mason Suzanne, Frailty screening in the Emergency Department: why does it matter?, Age and Ageing, Volume 53, Issue 4, April 2024, afae056,