Australasian Journal on Ageing
School of Nursing and Midwifery
Objective(s): To understand Australian health professionals' perceptions of their knowledge and previous training about frailty, as well as barriers to frailty assessment and management in their practice. Methods: A cross-sectional online survey was developed and distributed to health professionals (medical, nursing and allied health) engaged in clinical practice in Australia through convenience and snowball sampling techniques from March to May 2022. The survey consisted of five sections: frailty training and knowledge; confidence in recognising and managing adults with frailty; the importance and relevance of frailty; barriers to assessing and managing frailty in practice; and interest in further frailty training. Responses were analysed using descriptive statistics. Results: The survey was taken by 736 health professionals. Less than half of respondents (44%, 321/733) reported receiving any training on frailty, with 14% (105/733) receiving training specifically focussed on frailty. Most respondents (78%, 556/712) reported ‘good’ or ‘fair’ understanding of frailty. The majority (64%, 448/694) reported being ‘fairly’ or ‘somewhat’ confident with identifying frailty. Almost all respondents ( > 90%) recognised frailty as having an important impact on outcomes and believed that there are beneficial interventions for frailty. Commonly reported barriers to frailty assessment in practice included ‘lack of defined protocol for managing frailty’ and ‘lack of consensus about which frailty assessment tool to use’. Most respondents (88%, 521/595) were interested in receiving further education on frailty, with a high preference for online training. Conclusions: The findings suggest frailty is important to health professionals in Australia, and there is a need for and interest in further frailty education.
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