A recent article in JAMA, on the prevalence of frailty, recommends “preventing, predicting, and addressing frailty” as a way to reduce the burden of frailty for those residing in the community. This calls for an understanding of the risk factors for frailty in this setting and assessing for frailty also brings value in the world of post-acute care, especially within the context of the new reimbursement model – the Patient Driven Payment Model (PDPM). Assessing frailty is key to capturing revenue and accurately predicting costs of care in the world of PDPM, as the components affecting reimbursement—cognitive, psychosocial, and functional domains—all involve frailty.
One Medical Director in the post-acute care space added: “Understanding frailty can help us identify the risks associated with patients’ costs, as these are higher for frail patients with similar diagnoses than for their non-frail counterparts. In other words, the trajectory of care for two patients with similar diagnoses but different levels of frailty are drastically different.” (Steven Buslovich, MD, MSHCPM)

Patients do better when their care is framed by frailty. Clinicians manage patients better when frailty risk is identified. Providers predict costs and resource needs when clinical complexity, identified as frailty, is known.

Fortunately, barriers to assessing frailty are disappearing. For instance, these assessments previously called for the skills of a geriatrician or geriatric nurse practitioner. New technology is bridging the gap and allowing quicker assessments—integrated into the workflow—by registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, or other team members.
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