Insights: What we learned in the Frailty Education Workshops

Our first frailty workshops delivered powerful insights into the impact of frailty checkups.

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One of the purposes of our workshops was to discover some of the practical issues that volunteers might face in doing an assessment.

At first glance the questions we use seem straightforward, however, when our carers asked them it became clear that there may be difficulties.

1. “I know these answers are not the full story”

It is a natural response for people to respond to the questions with the best answer, they do not want to cause any concern or admit that things are getting difficult. If you suspect this is the case, try using other questions to get to the normal status rather than best case scenario.

2. “These questions are upsetting”

Sometimes these problems are upsetting to discuss, if the person you are checking becomes upset it is important to acknowledge the distress and not increase this any further.  Give the person time to collect themselves and then decide together if you should continue with the questions.

3. “Some of the questions are embarrassing”

Some of the questions that are more personal in nature, but they are only included because they are helpful in identifying need. There are ways to help reduce the embarrassment and enable all the questions to be answered.

4. ‘How do I share the results?”

This questionnaire does not create a score, but it does identify the domain of most concern. It is important to present these results as a step towards making a different, not a list of problems. Use the advice provided in this site to work with the person being checked and identify steps to change.

5. ‘How do I manage the conversation?’

The nursing lead in South Manchester gave some very good advice to help preserve privacy and encourage an open conversation.  Resist the temptation to share personal stories, and don’t be afraid to let silence happen as this gives a person time to reflect and think about their response to a question.