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Frailty and the need for palliative care

02 February 2021
Volume 26 · Issue 2

Although there is no definitive consensus, frailty is characterised by progressive physiological decline in a number of organs, resulting in loss of function, and, with that, an increased susceptibility to disease and falls. Falls often lead to reduced or hesitant mobility, which is accompanied by withdrawal from socialisation. Therefore, the prospect of loneliness is more likely in those who are likely to fall. According to Fried et al (2001), frailty is synonymous with old age, but can also be present in those with multiple comorbidities, making it more threatening (in terms of safety) for those living in the community and/or alone. It is, therefore, appropriate to claim that episodes of frailty are more commonly associated with old age and may increase the chances of poor survival. These factors may contribute to decisions about care for the older adult and, if not carefully considered, the frail adult may end up being admitted to hospital, leading to unwanted institutionalisation and even early death.

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