Frailty as a predictor of hospitalisation among community-dwelling older people: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background

Owing to detrimental hazards and substantial healthcare burden and costs, hospitalisation of older people has become a major focus. Frailty has increasingly been recognised as an important predictor of hospitalisation. This study aims to identify studies on physical frailty as a predictor of hospitalisation risks and to pool the risk estimates among community-dwelling older people.

Methods

A systematic literature search was performed in August 2015 using five databases: EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO and the Cochrane Library for prospective studies examining physical frailty as a predictor of hospitalisation published in 2000 or later. OR and HR were combined to synthesise pooled effect measures using fixed-effects models. The included studies were assessed for heterogeneity, methodological quality and publication bias. Subgroup analysis and meta-regression analysis were conducted to examine study characteristics in relation to the hospitalisation risks.

Results

Of the 4620 studies identified by the systematic review, 13 studies with average follow-up period of 3.1 years were selected. Frailty and prefrailty were significantly associated with higher hospitalisation risks among 10 studies with OR (pooled OR=1.90, 95% CI 1.74–2.07, p<0.00001; pooled OR=1.26, 95% CI 1.18–1.33, p<0.00001, respectively) and 3 studies with HR (pooled HR=1.30, 95% CI 1.12–1.52, p=0.0007; pooled HR=1.13, 95% CI 1.04–1.24, p=0.005, respectively). Heterogeneity was low to moderate. No publication bias was detected. The studies with older populations and unadjusted outcome measures were associated with higher hospitalisation risks in the subgroup analysis.

Conclusions

This systematic review and meta-analysis demonstrated physical frailty is a significant predictor of hospitalisation among community-dwelling older people. Hospitalisation can potentially be reduced by treating or preventing frailty.

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