Global Challenges, Territorial Answers: the Future of Health in Europe - Event organised by EUREGHA on behalf of the Committee of the Region's Interregional Group on Health and Well-being

On 27 October, SUNFRAIL partners and externally invited speakers gathered in Naples for the 2nd transnational workshop “Toward a Bio-Psychosocial model of frailty”, hosted by Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria Federico II. EUREGHA, as consortium partner of the project, was represented by EUREGHA Vice-chair and EUREGHA Secretariat. After the opening speeches, introduction of the general objectives and first results of SUNFRAIL project were presented.

The first session further focused on the evolution of the concept of frailty from a physical state to include social and psychological domains. The second part of the morning session was dedicated to showcase good practices on identification of frailty and multimorbidity collected by all partner organisations.

The highlight of the meeting was the presentation of SUNFRAIL tool on frailty and multimorbidity. A questionnaire containing 9 questions was developed to assess three domains of frailty: biological, social and psychological. Each question response is thought to generate an initial alert leading to a specific response according to the conditions and domains identified.

The afternoon session was enriched with in-group discussions on the main points: how to identify frailty through health, social and community care services;  how to operationalise a response on frailty and multimorbidity; how to respond to lifelong learning needs and which innovative business models to prevent frailty could be adopted.

Some of the main points and conclusions from the workshop were:

  • Frailty is considered to be a low priority issue for most general practitioners, due to high cost of prevention and its perceived limited clinical relevance;
  • While the general practitioner is one of the main entry points and the point of referral for the detection of frailty and for the implementation of the first interventions, other professionals (nurses, social workers, others), play an important and complementary role;
  • Since frailty is a complex multi-domain condition, it is important to involve and train professionals with a multidisciplinary approach;
  • In order to address the elderly’s need to maintain their independence and bridging the gap between services provision and utilisation, it is important to improve awareness about frailty risk factors and to promote preventive activities, as well as to support professionals in adopting effective communication and promotion means.