Identifying frailty priorities — The Canadian Frailty Priority Setting Partnership

Research is vital to finding better ways to improve the health and quality of life for people living with frailty. Canadian Frailty Network established a group (the Canadian Frailty Priority Setting Partnership) to undertake a study aimed at identifying priority areas for Canadian researchers, knowledge users and and funding organizations.

To do this, the Canadian Frailty Priority Setting Partnership followed the methods of the James Lind Alliance. It asked Canadians affected by older adults living with frailty – either personally, as a family member or caregiver, or through their work – for their unanswered questions about living with frailty, and care, support and treatment for older adults living with frailty.

A survey was widely circulated in the summer of 2017 through CFN’s network of community and other groups and organizations. The result was a narrowed-down list of 22 questions relating to frailty priorities.

The list of 22 questions was reviewed and ranked prior to a final workshop in Toronto in September. The purpose of the final workshop was to come to a consensus on a shared ranking of the 22 questions to determine which would make up the “top 10” patient-centred priorities concerning frailty. The workshop included a mix of participants from across Canada including older adults, friends, family, and current and former caregivers, as well as health and social care providers.

Click here to see the Top 10 Frailty Priorities established through this process.

At a glance, the top 10 frailty priorities established by this group appear to be vast and cover topics ranging from prevention of frailty to alternative models of housing. This highlights the importance of frailty throughout the healthcare continuum, and the continued need for research, knowledge translation and quality improvement in these areas.

For more information about this project, check out the webinar presented on project team members Drs. Kathy McGilton and Jennifer Bethell.

Who participated in this study?

The study was open to those living in Canada who are:

  • Older adults who are concerned about frailty
  • Friends, family and caregivers of older adults living with frailty
  • Health and social care providers (e.g., doctors, nurses, occupational therapists, personal support workers, pharmacists, social workers, etc.) who work with older adults living with frailty and/or can advocate for them

Who is leading this study?

The team responsible for carrying out this study is based at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network and the University of Toronto. The study is overseen by a Steering Group made up of people affected by frailty, either personally or through their work.

How is the Canadian Frailty Network involved?

This study is funded by the Canadian Frailty Network. The Canadian Frailty Network is also represented on the Steering Group and is also one of the partner organizations in the study, helping to promote the study with Canadians from across the country.

How can I get more information?

To find out more, contact a member of the study team:

Dr. Jennifer Bethell

Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network, Bickle Centre (Research)


Dr. Katherine McGilton

Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network, Bickle Centre (Research)


Dr. Martine Puts

Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto


 Steering group membership

  • Melissa Andrew, Geriatrician, Dalhousie University
  • Patricia Ayala, Information specialist, University of Toronto
  • Howard Bergman, Family physician, McGill University
  • Andrew Choate
  • Barry Clarke, Medical Director, Continuing Care, Nova Scotia Health Authority
  • Carlo DeAngelis, Pharmacist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  • Jacobi Elliott, University of Waterloo and Citizen Engagement Committee, Canadian Frailty Network
  • Marg Fitch, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and University of Toronto
  • Chris Frank, Family physician, Queen’s University
  • Kathryn Hominick, Clinical Social Worker Geriatrics, Nova Scotia Health Authority
  • Margaret Keatings
  • Janet McElhaney, Geriatrician, Health Sciences North
  • Sandra McKay, VHA Home Healthcare
  • Eric Pitters
  • Jenny Ploeg, McMaster University
  • Souraya Sidani, Ryerson University

Partner organizations

Alberta Continuing Care Association

The Arthritis Society

BC Care Providers Association

Canadian Academy of Geriatric Psychiatry

Canadian Association for Rural & Remote Nursing

Canadian Association of Critical Care Nurses

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists

Canadian Association of Social Workers

The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network

Canadian Geriatrics Society

Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association

The Canadian Orthopedic Foundation

Canadian Society of Consultant Pharmacists

Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists

Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians

Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists

Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association

Clinical Nurse Specialist Association of Canada

Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)-Central East

Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)-Central West

Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)-Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant

Community Health Nurses of Canada

Denominational Health Association

Geriatric Education & Research in Aging Sciences (GERAS)

GTA Rehab Network

Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada

Hypertension Canada

The Kidney Foundation of Canada

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada

Lung Association

National Association of Federal Retirees

National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE)

New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes

The North East Specialized Geriatric Centre

Older Women’s Network (Ontario) Inc.

Ontario Long Term Care Association

Ontario Respiratory Care Society

Public Health Physicians of Canada

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada

The 519 Church Street Community Centre

The College of Family Physicians of Canada

Trent Centre for Aging & Society