Towards a more effective strategy to detect community-dwelling frail older adults: validation of risk factors

M. Van der Elst*, B. Schoenmakers, E. Dierckx, E. De Roeck, A. van der Vorst, D. Lambotte, J. De Lepeleire, L. De Donder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose In the context of early detection of frail older people, prior research found several risk factors of multidimensional frailty. The current study aims to validate these risk factors. Design/methodology/approach Two data sets, Belgian Ageing Studies and Detection, Support and Care for older people: Prevention and Empowerment (BAS and D-SCOPE), in three Belgian municipalities (Ghent, Knokke-Heist and Thienen) were used and compared. The BAS data set (N = 1496) is a representative sample of community-dwelling older adults (60+), while the recruitment of the D-SCOPE sample (validation sample, N = 869) is based on risk factors (e.g. age, marital status, moved in the past 10 years). Frailty was measured with the comprehensive frailty assessment instrument (CFAI). The validity was examined by means of prevalence rates, distribution and the odds rates within both data sets. Findings The validation sample had an increase in the percentage of elderly who were mildly and highly frail for physical frailty (men: +17.0 percent point, women: +20.7 percent point), for psychological frailty (men: +13.4 percent point, women: +13.7 percent point), for social frailty (men: +24.8 percent point, women: +4.8 percent point) and environmental frailty (men: +24.2 percent point, women: +6.8 percent point). The present results indicate that the risk of being mildly or highly frail was higher in the validation sample in comparison with the BAS data. Originality/value The present study proved the validity of aforementioned risk factors. Selecting older people based on these risk factors proved to be an effective strategy for detecting frail older people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-249
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Health Governance
Issue number3
Early online date5 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2021


  • Detection
  • Frailty
  • Older adults
  • Risk factors
  • Validity


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