• acute care;
  • acute illness;
  • aged;
  • frailty;
  • geriatric medicine

Aim:  Develop a measure of frailty for older acute inpatients to be performed by non-geriatricians.

Method:  The Reported Edmonton Frail Scale (REFS) was adapted from the Edmonton Frail Scale for use with Australian acute inpatients. With acute patients aged over 70 years admitted to an Australian teaching hospital, we validated REFS against the Geriatrician's Clinical Impression of Frailty (GCIF), measures of cognition, comorbidity and function, and assessed inter-rater reliability.

Results:  REFS was moderately correlated with GCIF (n = 105, R = 0.61, P < 0.01), Mini-Mental State Examination impairment (n = 61, R = 0.49, P < 0.001), Charlson Comorbidity Index (n = 59, R = 0.51, P < 0.001) and Katz Daily Living Scale (n = 59, R = 0.51, P < 0.001). Inter-rater reliability of REFS administered by two researchers without medical training was excellent (kappa = 0.84, n = 31).

Conclusion:  In this cohort of older acute inpatients, REFS is a valid, reliable test of frailty, and may be a valuable research tool to assess the impact of frailty on prognosis and response to therapy.