Covid-19 and Frailty

We now know that older people, male and existing co-morbidity are markers for worse outcomes with the COVID-19 syndrome [1].  An estimated 13.4% of people 80 and older die with COVID-19, compared to 4% and 1.25% of those in there 60s and 50s, respectively [2].

The core of the current UK COVID-19 strategy is ‘social distancing’ and to shield those most vulnerable. This is clearly sensible, life-saving and based on evidence [3]. However, these actions must not result in ‘social isolation’, as the potential for long term, worsening of health and wellbeing will be catastrophic for those most vulnerable [4].

Social distancing does not mean avoiding people, nor does it mean doing everything remotely through technology. Although technology does offers us great opportunities to connect to people, we must remember that nearly half of those 75 and over do not use or do not have access to the internet [5].

Therefore, in parallel with technological, it is crucial we promote and support health and wellbeing in creative and innovate ways, that maintain ‘social distancing’ benefits, but reduce the risk of social isolation.

Using the Frailty ICARE toolkit, lets explore how support and care could prevent frailty and support people, carers and families living with frailty during the COVID- 19 pandemic – work in progress.

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32335169
  2. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30243-7/fulltext
  3. Oxford COVID-19 evidence service – What is the evidence for social distancing during global pandemics? A rapid summary of current knowledge https://www.cebm.net/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/What-is-the-evidence-for-social-distancing-during-global-pandemics-final-1.pdf
  4. IRISS. ESSS Outline Covid-19, social isolation and Loneliness – https://www.iriss.org.uk/sites/default/files/2020-04/iriss_esss_outline_social_isolation_22042020.pdf
  5. https://www.ageuk.org.uk/globalassets/age-uk/documents/reports-and-publications/reports-and-briefings/active-communities/rb_july16_older_people_and_internet_use_stats.pdf