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Frail and Older Persons Project for the North West

Frail and Older Persons Project for the North West

2022-08-02 09:53:45

Frail and Older Persons Project for the North West

2nd August 2022

Frail and Older Persons project for the North West

North West Hospital and Health Service (NWHHS) is currently implementing a Queensland Health Initiative to improve care to frail older persons residing in our remote communities. It focuses on early detection of frailty to potentially manage preventable complications related to aging.

The project aims to:

  • Identify and measure the degree of frailty in older persons, thereby understanding where future investment may be required to improve the quality and safety of care for this vulnerable group.
  • Partner with internal and external health service providers
  • Enhance workforce capability by improving clinician skills and knowledge in frail and older persons care needs
  • Optimise timely evidence-based care for frail older persons
  • Ensure that the most appropriate care is received in the most appropriate location

The patient Cohort:

  • Indigenous patients 55+ years

Non – indigenous 65+ years

Why is this project important?
The North West Hospital and Health Service provides services to a diverse population dispersed across a vast geographic area of North West Queensland. As we provide remote and very remote health services, our geography has constantly presented challenges for the delivery of timely and equitable health care. We not only face the tyranny of distance and geography, but a diverse population, a high and increasing burden of disease and a significant growth in the aging population.

Compared to Queensland, The NWHHS population is younger, and is aging significantly with an annual growth rate of 3.0% for people aged 65 + years and has a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents compared to Queensland as a whole.  (Deloitte, 2019). 

Generally, the North West Hospital and Health Service is socio-economically disadvantaged. However this status significantly shifts between each community. The most disadvantaged communities are Mornington Island  - 97% of the population, Doomadgee - 96% of the population and Burke Shire -  95% of the population (Deloitte, 2019).
Frail older persons have unique care needs that aren’t always able to be met.

Where to from here?
We will be implementing the Rockwood Clinical Frailty Scale throughout the remote communities. The Clinical Frailty Scale is an objective, global measure of a person’s level of vulnerability to poor outcomes (Dalhousie University, 2020). It is a Queensland Health agreed and endorsed standard frailty screening tool which identifies vulnerable older patients who require customised care.  

Over the next six months, there will be a number of project progressions, including:

Project Plan developed and endorsed by HHS

Communication plan to stakeholders across the Rural and remote regions

Determine current frail and older persons demand for care in remote sites of NWHHS

Develop Staff Education Plan

Develop Procedure for using Clinical Frailty Scale

Clinical Frailty Scale initiative implemented across Remote Sites

Review Initiative across Remote sites

Benchmark across Remote Sites

Review future services requirements

Regular community updates will be provided for this project. Please keep an eye on your emails if you would like to know more. 

If you would like more information on the Frail and older persons project, please contact: Acting Nursing Director Frail and Aged, Tracey Wylie, at