August 1, 2019, Kaiser Health News, in their Navigating Aging blog by Judith Graham, presents a compelling story that is really about frailty and the value of surgeons communicating the potential for unwanted outcomes when surgery is performed in a frail senior. In this Frailty Matters blog we have often discussed the vulnerability and risk frailty imposes on an individual and the value of communicating that risk especially when new treatments or surgery are being considered. The patient and their family need to know not only the usual risks and benefits but how these might change when the patient is frail and how these outcomes can affect recovery, rehabilitation, and future quality of life. With this information, and an understanding that the patient, family, and/or legal healthcare representative have choices, a more “informed consent” can be given. Frailty is now more often considered and measured by many healthcare specialists and accepted as the best predictor of risk in those with multiple chronic illnesses, known to impact function and cognition. From decades of research and hundreds of peer-reviewed articles, we know that as the degree of frailty increases so does the degree of risk for adverse outcomes from any stressor event. Speaking the language of frailty when caring for those with chronic illnesses matters. The full article is available at the link below:

The Talk Seniors Need To Have With Doctors Before Surgery