Transforming Primary Care for Older Canadians Living With Frailty


University of Waterloo




Frail Elderly Syndrome


Other: Integrated model of primary care

Study type


Funder types




Details and patient eligibility


It is well known that older Canadians are high users of health care services. What is less well known is that the health care system is not well-designed to meet the needs of those who use it most. Older persons look to their primary care practitioners to assess their needs and coordinate their care. Unfortunately, the health concerns of older persons are often missed in too-short office visits. They may need care from a variety of providers and services, but this care is often not well-coordinated. Older persons and their caregivers are the experts in their own needs and preferences, but often do not have a chance to participate fully in treatment decisions or care planning. As a result, they may have health problems that are not properly assessed, managed or treated resulting in poorer health, as well as preventable and expensive emergency department visits and hospital stays. Improving the health of older Canadians means identifying health problems early. It means providing timely supports so that manageable concerns do not spiral out of control. And, above all, it means helping health care providers actively engage older patients and their family caregivers as partners in care. Patients want to make informed choices about their health and the care they receive, based on their personal values, preferences and goals, and informed by available evidence. Nine primary care clinics in three provinces (Quebec, Ontario, Alberta) will use a quick screening tool to identify older patients who are at risk of becoming frail. This will help initiate referral to health care or support services where necessary. Innovative technology will be used to streamline the referral process and help assist older adults in decision-making about their care. With support from the Canadian Frailty Network (CFN, formerly TVN), researchers, collaborators, health care providers and older adults from across Canada will work together to transform primary health care for frail elderly Canadians.

Full description

The team will be implementing evidence-based and tested interventions as a coherent strategy to enhance primary health care for older adults, working collaboratively with study sites, older adults, and other stakeholders to develop a scalable and sustainable model. The investigators aim to develop the capacity of primary health care teams to identify, assess, and support older adults (70+) who are frail, and to delay or prevent decline for those at lower risk. The project will support patient/caregiver engagement, and stronger care coordination and integration with other health and social services. The primary research question is: compared to usual care in primary care settings, does the proposed model improve health, social and economic outcomes for frail and at-risk older Canadians (aged 70+)? The investigators hypothesize that older adults will benefit from screening, active engagement in care planning, and appropriate referrals to services earlier in their care trajectories. In addition to improving health outcomes and quality of life for patients, more proactive interventions can reduce costly emergency department visits and unplanned hospital admissions.


695 patients




70+ years old


Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Inclusion criteria

older adults age 70+ who attend the primary care clinic, speak and understand English language

Exclusion criteria

older adults less than 70 years of age, patients who don't not speak/understand English, patients living in long-term care, patients not rostered for 6 months.

Trial design

Primary purpose

Health Services Research



Interventional model

Single Group Assignment


None (Open label)

695 participants in 1 patient group

Intervention Cohort
Experimental group
Integrated model of primary care
Other: Integrated model of primary care

Trial contacts and locations



Data sourced from

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