A frailty index is a quantitative measure of frailty, based on the nonspecific accumulation of deficits. In the general population the frailty index strongly predicts death and deterioration of independence and health. Few studies focus on frailty in people with intellectual disabilities (ID). However, because of the increasing longevity of people with ID, frailty will become a major healthcare challenge in this population. Here we argue the benefits of using a frailty index to measure frailty in people with ID, as it was suggested that this tool would lead to flawed results in this specific population. Most important, as the exact content of the frailty index is relatively free, the frailty index can include problems that are often present in the ID population, as well as use diagnostic questionnaires that have been validated in people with ID. In addition, as the frailty index is designed using a well-evaluated standardized procedure, results can be compared to the general population. The frailty index is applicable to the ID population and predicts negative health outcomes, making it a useful instrument for policy and research. However, further research on its clinical applicability is required.

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doi.org/10.1111/jppi.12125, hdl.handle.net/1765/91468
Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Schoufour, J., Evenhuis, H., Mitnitski, A., Rockwood, K., & Echteld, M. (2015). The Benefits of a Frailty Index for People With Intellectual Disability: A Commentary. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 12(3), 232–234. doi:10.1111/jppi.12125