Skip to main content

01.12.2014 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

BMC Geriatrics 1/2014

Screening for frailty in primary care: a systematic review of the psychometric properties of the frailty index in community-dwelling older people

BMC Geriatrics > Ausgabe 1/2014
Irene Drubbel, Mattijs E Numans, Guido Kranenburg, Nienke Bleijenberg, Niek J de Wit, Marieke J Schuurmans
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1471-2318-14-27) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

ID, MJS, MEN and NJW contributed to the study concept and design. ID drafted the manuscript. ID and GK selected relevant studies independently, and ID extracted data and assessed the quality of the included studies. ID, NJW, NB, MEN and MJS provided a critical review of this manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of this manuscript.



To better accommodate for the complex care needs of frail, older people, general practitioners must be capable of easily identifying frailty in daily clinical practice, for example, by using the frailty index (FI). To explore whether the FI is a valid and adequate screening instrument for primary care, we conducted a systematic review of its psychometric properties.


We searched the Cochrane, PubMed and Embase databases and included original studies focusing on the criterion validity, construct validity and responsiveness of the FI when applied in community-dwelling older people. We evaluated the quality of the studies included using the Quality in Prognosis Studies (QUIPS) tool. This systematic review was conducted based on the PRISMA statement.


Of the twenty studies identified, eighteen reported on FIs derived from research data, one reported upon an FI derived from an administrative database of home-care clients, and one reported upon an FI derived from routine primary care data. In general, the FI showed good criterion and construct validity but lacked studies on responsiveness. When compared with studies that used data gathered for research purposes, there are indications that the FI mean score and range might be different in datasets using routine primary care data; however, this finding needs further investigation.


Our results suggest that the FI is a valid frailty screening instrument. However, further research using routine Electronic Medical Record data is necessary to investigate whether the psychometric properties of the FI are generalizable to a primary care setting and to facilitate its interpretation and implementation in daily clinical practice.

Trial registration

PROSPERO systematic review register number: CRD42013003737.
Über diesen Artikel

Weitere Artikel der Ausgabe 1/2014

BMC Geriatrics 1/2014 Zur Ausgabe

Neu im Fachgebiet Innere Medizin

Mail Icon II Newsletter

Bestellen Sie unseren kostenlosen Newsletter Update Innere Medizin und bleiben Sie gut informiert – ganz bequem per eMail.

© Springer Medizin