The FORTRESS Study (Frailty in Older People: Rehabilitation Treatment Research Examining Separate Settings)

Frailty is emerging as a challenge for older people and the health services they utilise. It is associated with increasing age and is characterised by diminished strength and endurance and reduced physiological function. Frailty is also associated with increased risk of falls, increased likelihood of hospitalisation and longer length of hospital stay, and increased risk of death.

FORTRESS is a three-year, NHMRC funded research study which will take a validated frailty screening tool and an evidence-based intervention for frailty, and operationalise them together in the acute hospital setting, with follow up in the community and general practice setting in partnership with the local Primary Health Networks.

The study will measure the effectiveness over 12 months of the frailty intervention on hospital readmissions (primary outcome), frailty status, and quality of life. Participants will be people aged 75 years and over admitted to six acute wards in two hospitals, one in Northern Sydney and one in Southern Adelaide. It will use the FRAIL Scale as a screening tool, and the Asia Pacific Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Frailty to direct the interventions. Cost-effectiveness of the intervention will also be measured.

South Australia trial coordinator: Heather Block