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Care of the older person
Examining patterns of frailty and associated factors in older adults
  1. Margaret Dunham
  1. Nursing & Midwifery, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Margaret Dunham, Nursing and Midwifery, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield S1 1WB, UK; m.dunham{at}

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Commentary on: Cheung D.S., Kwan R.Y., Wong A.S., et al. Factors Associated With Improving or Worsening the State of Frailty: A Secondary Data Analysis of a 5 Year Longitudinal Study. J Nurs Scholarsh 2020; 52: 5, 515–526.

Implications for practice and research

  • An understanding of cognitive ability, nutritional state, physical factors and social circumstance should inform assessment of frailty risk.

  • More longitudinal prospective research is needed to identify factors influencing the development of frailty.


Frailty is a huge public health challenge for the ageing global population. The incidence of morbidity and mortality is greatly increased in the frail oldest old.1 Frailty is characterised by dramatic, observable physiological changes including loss of muscle, body mass and physiological reserves leading to increased vulnerability to adverse events including infection and falls.2

Early …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.