Can proxy assessments serve as a first screener for identifying people at risk for multidimensional frailty?

Anne van der Vorst*, G. A. Rixt Zijlstra, Nico De Witte, Jan De Lepeleire, Gertrudis I. J. M. Kempen, Jos M. G. A. Schols, D-SCOPE Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Web of Science)


Timely detection of multidimensional frailty is important to prevent further negative outcomes. Perspectives of general practitioners (GPs) or informal caregivers might serve as a first, global screener to identify older people in need of a more extended assessment. Therefore, we aimed to investigate whether proxy assessments are associated with older people's self-reported environmental, physical, psychological, social and overall frailty. A cross-sectional study was conducted on 78 community-dwelling people aged 60 years and over, their GPs (n = 57) and informal caregivers (n = 50). Self-reported frailty was assessed with the Comprehensive Frailty Assessment Instrument. GPs and informal caregivers rated each frailty domain and overall frailty on a scale of 0 (not frail at all) to 10 (severely frail). Associations between proxy scores and self-reported frailty were examined by correlation analyses. Significant low to moderate associations were found between (1) self-reported physical frailty and physical frailty scores given by the GPs (r = 0.366, p 0.01) and informal caregivers (r = 0.305, p 0.05), and (2) self-reported psychological frailty and psychological frailty scores given by the GPs (r = 0.230, p 0.05) and informal caregivers (r = 0.254, p 0.05). No significant associations were found between proxy scores and self-reported environmental, social and overall frailty. Global proxy scores as short, subjective screeners for detecting frailty cannot completely replace self-reported frailty. Nonetheless, low to moderate correlations were found for physical and psychological frailty ratings, suggesting that proxy scores might be of value as a first sign of something being wrong for these domains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-507
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Geriatric Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Informal caregivers
  • General practitioners
  • Independent living
  • Outcome assessment
  • CARE

Cite this