Background: Although leg ulcers are a burdensome disease most common in those aged 65 years and older, frailty in this population has not yet been well established. Objectives: The aim of this study was to prospectively explore and compare the presence of frailty in elderly patients with chronic leg or foot ulcers by applying different validated frailty screening methods in three healthcare settings and to assess the feasibility of frailty screening. Methods: We compared frailty of leg ulcer patients referred to an academic hospital with a non-academic hospital, leg ulcer patients receiving (primary) homecare, and a dermato-oncology patient population (control group). Frailty and quality of life were assessed using four validated questionnaires: the Groninger Frailty Indicator, Geriatric-8, Mini-Cog and Wound Quality of Life. To analyse data multiple (non)-parametric tests were performed. Results: Fifty of 60 included leg ulcer patients (83%) scored “frail” on at least one frailty questionnaire (GFI, G8 or Mini-Cog). The number of patients scoring “frail” on two or three out of three applied frailty questionnaires were significantly higher in the academic and homecare ulcer population compared with the non-academic ulcer population and control group (p = 0.002). In the academic ulcer population mean Wound Quality of Life scores were 30.2 (SD 17.6), compared with 17.7 (SD 13.1) in the non-academic and 15.0 (SD 10.4) in the homecare ulcer population (p = 0.002). Conclusion: The majority of patients suffering from leg ulcers in this study was frail. The highest frailty prevalence was observed in the academic and homecare ulcer populations. The largest impaired quality of life was reported in the academic ulcer population. In dermatology practice, implementing frailty screening and initiating appropriate (paramedical) supportive care should be considered to improve patient outcomes.
|Number of pages
|Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology
|Early online date
|24 Sept 2022
|Published - Feb 2023
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.