Key Challenges

The challenges that face older people who have become frail are varied and complex. One important challenge is that of frailty itself, and others arise from the multiple medical conditions that are common in this population. Frail older people frequently have to manage a complex combination of health problems, and a variety of medications, as well as mobility and disability issues. In addition, they may have to grapple with sensory impairments and significant losses, such as loss of a partner. They may no longer be able to drive a vehicle or manage their own finances - issues which may result in loss of self-esteem and independence.

Elderly couple smiling

Frail older people in the community and in residential aged care settings may be cared for by a range of health professionals and carers. Keeping track of who they all are and what aspects of care they are involved with can, in itself, present a challenge. For this reason, coordinated care is optimal and minimises disruption to the client's life. Nurses in such settings are often the coordinators of care, or case managers, and these are important and central roles in the healthcare team.