Improving medication use in residential care: insights of frailty and brain vital signs

About two-thirds of older adults (+65 years of age) who take 5+ medicines experience drug-related negative events (falls, reduced brain function, syndromes). Choosing the right medicines to treat someone’s unique set of health needs is complex, and requires thinking about many factors. Too much or not enough medicine can cause harm to patients, especially older adults living with frailty.

About this project:

Solutions that help healthcare professionals prescribe the right medicines are currently very limited, but emerging research is supportive of new ways to monitor frailty and brain function. Our project uniquely brings together leading researchers, academics, and industry partners in pharmacy and ageing fields to better understand how medicine use relates to frailty and health outcomes. New tools that measure health status in ways that are not dependent on medical opinion are available. First, we will study how medicine use relates to degree of frailty (Frailty Index). Second, we will study how medicine use relates to health outcomes (brain vital signs and other health assessments). As part of our project, we will gather essential data to learn about how these outcomes differ between sexes, if certain medicines and combinations have lower risks, and what makes it easier and/or more difficult for older adults to manage their medicines. If successful, our project will represent the first steps to providing evidence that prescribing and/or deprescribing practices in older adults can be informed by frailty assessments 

Project Team:

Principal Investigator:

Xiaowei Song, PhD, MSCS, Fraser Health


Ryan D’Arcy, PhD, Fraser Health

Knowledge User:

Rowena Rizzotti, MBA, Lark Group


Barbara De Angelis, RPh, BScPhm, ACRP, BCGP, Rexall Pharmacies

Jackie Macli-ing, MSN, BSN, Laurel Place

Linda Fernholm, Laurel Place


Chelsea Stunden, MPH, BSc, Health & Technology Districty

Andrew McDonald, MD(c), BSc, University of British Columbia

Fabio Bollinger, BASc, Simon Fraser University

Lukas Grajuaskas, MSc, Simon Fraser University

Tony (Er Dong) Zhang, PharmD, University of British Columbia


Laurel Place

Lark Group

Rexall Pharmacies

Fraser Health


Project Contact: Dr. Xiaowei Song —


Keywords: aging; cognitive decline; polypharmacy; frailty assessment; neurotechnology; Brain Vital Signs