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Topic Report: The impact of frailty on public health nurse service utilisation. Finding from The Irish longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA)

26th September 2016

A new report by The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing on older frail people's use of public health nursing services in Ireland was launched today by Dr Lorna Roe of TILDA and the Centre for Health Policy and Management, Trinity College Dublin at the annual general meeting of the Institute of Community Health Nursing. The report examines the demographic and healthcare entitlements of older frail Irish people utilising Public Health Nursing services. The study was commissioned by the Institute of Community Health Nursing (ICHN).

Key Findings include:

  • 24% of community-living Irish people aged 65 years and older are frail, 45% are pre-frail.
  • 57% of Public Health Nursing service users aged 65 years and older are frail.
  • Less than one third of frail older people access the Public Health Nursing service.
  • Frail older people's healthcare entitlement, living arrangements, disability and severity of frailty are all important determinants for accessing the Public Health Nursing service.
  • The prevalence of frailty in those aged 65 years and older varied from 17% to 29% across Community Healthcare Organisation.

Commenting on the study, the lead author, Dr Lorna Roe said "These findings raise questions about the role of the Public Health Nurse in the care of older people in particular regarding the objective identification of frail older people in practice and access and entitlement to Public Health Nurse services for an increasingly older population. Further research is warranted to examine differing intensities of PHN delivery to older people with varying levels of frailty."

The full report is available here.

Dr Lorna Roe was previously funded as a scholar on the Health Research Board structured PhD Scholars Programme in Health Services Research.