Understanding the physical weakness of an elderly patient is critical to ensure their proper care. Researchers from the UK and Canada have now devised a frailty index to determine how illnesses affect the functional ability of elderly patients. The index was based on research published in the journal CMAJ. The purpose of the index is to measure the frailty of older patients admitted for acute illnesses. The index would help in determining the specific care they would need post-hospitalization. 
The researchers based their data from a prospective cohort study of older patients (55.3 percent women, mean age 84.6) in a large tertiary hospital in the UK. They created the index from the routine laboratory tests. This data was linked to hospital outcomes, duration of stay and the need for greater care post-hospitalization. They also evaluated the incidences of readmission and mortality.
The study showed that laboratory results were reliable in predicting the risks of adverse outcomes. A high score on the index was linked to 18 percent higher chances of readmission and 45 percent increased chances of mortality. The index is designed to calculate the overall frailty, keeping in mind the acute and chronic health conditions of the patient. These factors are often overlooked or not seen in totality.