Frailty screening in hospitalised older adults: How does the brief Dutch National Safety Management Program perform compared to a more extensive approach?

Ron M. J. Warnier*, Erik van Rossum, Sander M. J. van Kuijk, Fabienne Magdelijns, Jos M. G. A. Schols, Gertrudis I. J. M. Kempen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Aims and objectives To examine the predictive properties of the brief Dutch National Safety Management Program for the screening of frail hospitalised older patients (VMS) and to compare these with the more extensive Maastricht Frailty Screening Tool for Hospitalised Patients (MFST-HP). Background Screening of older patients during admission may help to detect frailty and underlying geriatric conditions. The VMS screening assesses patients on four domains (i.e. functional decline, delirium risk, fall risk and nutrition). The 15-item MFST-HP assesses patients on three domains of frailty (physical, social and psychological). Design Retrospective cohort study. Methods Data of 2,573 hospitalised patients (70+) admitted in 2013 were included, and relative risks, sensitivity and specificity and area under the receiver operating characteristic (AUC) curve of the two tools were calculated for discharge destination, readmissions and mortality. The data were derived from the patients nursing files. A STARD checklist was completed. Results Different proportions of frail patients were identified by means of both tools: 1,369 (53.2%) based on the VMS and 414 (16.1%) based on the MFST-HP. The specificity was low for the VMS, and the sensitivity was low for the MFST-HP. The overall AUC for the VMS varied from 0.50 to 0.76 and from 0.49 to 0.69 for the MFST-HP. Conclusion The predictive properties of the VMS and the more extended MFST-HP on the screening of frailty among older hospitalised patients are poor to moderate and not very promising. Relevance to clinical practice The VMS labels a high proportion of older patients as potentially frail, while the MFST-HP labels over 80% as nonfrail. An extended tool did not increase the predictive ability of the VMS. However, information derived from the individual items of the screening tools may help nurses in daily practice to intervene on potential geriatric risks such as delirium risk or fall risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1064-1073
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • feasibility
  • frailty
  • frailty screening
  • geriatric assessment
  • hospitalised patients
  • nursing assessment
  • risk screening
  • safety programme
  • validity
  • RISK
  • CARE

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