Innovative Clinical Tool Combines Medical and Social Factors to Assess Senior Health
Research from a PSI Foundation–funded team has led to the development of a first-of-its-kind assessment of seniors’ biomedical and social vulnerability. The Frailty and Vulnerability Evaluation (FAVE) tool, developed by Dr. Ross Upshur and his team at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare and the Department of Family and Community Medicine in Toronto with funding from PSI Foundation, is a step towards higher quality care for seniors.
Dr. Upshur’s career has largely been focused on senior care, starting with electives as an undergraduate in medical school, followed by several years as a primary care physician in a rural area with a large senior population. In recent years of his research career, he and his team have been interested in developing tools to help physicians in family practice manage the complex health care needs of seniors.
They identified that while certain aspects of seniors’ health were becoming better understood, there was still a significant gap – social isolation. “There’s growing interest and recognition from the health system around frailty,” says Dr. Upshur. “Frailty is important, but not the whole story.” Yet, no clinical tools in primary care looked at both frailty and social vulnerability, so he and his team, with input from an expert advisory committee, developed one.