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EU Frailty project under spotlight

EU frailty event
Staff from Health and Social Care Board and Southern Health and Social Care Trust with other EU partners from the Sunfrail project which is looking at the issue of frailty among the over 65 year olds

A European project, examining the issue of frailty among older people, was the focus of a one-day event in Portadown.

The EU Sunfrail project, which brings together 11 partners from 6 European countries, aims to improve the identification, prevention and management of frailty and multimorbidity for people over 65.

A frailty screening tool has been developed and the Southern Health and Social Care Trust’s health and wellbeing team participated in a pilot with over 100 people in community settings between March – August 2017.

Organised by the Health and Social Care’s eHealth and External Collaboration Directorate, the event on 19 October attracted a variety of healthcare professionals working with older people across Northern Ireland.

They got the chance to hear how European partners in Italy, Poland and Netherlands have used the Sunfrail tool in a number of different settings, including primary care, secondary care, community settings as well as supported living environments.

Soo Hun, NI lead for the project, said the event was an opportunity for a Northern Ireland audience to learn more about frailty, as well as for partners to share the learnings on the potential of the tool thus enabling them to follow progress of the results to the end of the project in February 2018.

“Many tools have been developed for the manifestation of symptoms of frailty but not frailty itself. This screening tool features a questionnaire looking at memory, biomedical and economic and social factors.

“If we regard frailty as a long term condition and treat is in the same way as other long-term conditions then we have to take account of risk factors such as obesity, smoking, falls, and social isolation,” she said.

The event also featured those who had participated in the tool experimentation and those who wanted to find out more about the experimentation which took place in the Southern Trust.

The EU Sunfrail project receives funding from the EU Health Programme 2014-2020 and Northern Ireland, through the Health and Social Care Board, is one of the partner countries participating in the initiative.

More information about the Sunfrail project is available at http://www.sunfrail.eu/