Internet Explorer is no longer supported by Microsoft. To browse the NIHR site please use a modern, secure browser like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge.

Themed Call: Improving the outcomes of health and social care for frail people and their carers (2018)


Published: 29 May 2019

Version: 1.0

Print this document


This call showed the importance NIHR attributes to tackling the challenges posed to the NHS, social care and wider society by the ageing population of the UK. The call builds on the previous NIHR theme of “Complex Health and Care Needs in Older People” and its work in the field of multi-morbidity.

Around 6.5% of people aged over 60 years have frailty in England, rising to 65% of those aged over 90 years. Frailty has been shown to develop at an earlier age in some parts of society and in some groups of people. Frailty may be viewed as a long-term condition, and it is believed some aspects of health and wellbeing may be improved with appropriate interventions or therapy.

Many people may not recognise themselves as frail or want to be considered as such. However, identifying people with frailty is important to enable a fuller assessment of health and social care needs and the provision of appropriate interventions and support. Common conditions such as dementia often contribute to frailty, making health and social care needs more complex, and also complicating the health and social care responses to those needs.

There is a need for better evidence to support and promote healthy ageing and to provide evidence for health and social care interventions that may slow or prevent further declines in health, support independence and/or improve wellbeing, and that take account of the wider health and social care needs of the individual and their family or other carers.

Participating Programmes:

The following NIHR managed research programmes:

Efficacy and Mechanism Evaluation (EME)
Health Services and Delivery Research (HS&DR)
Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
Invention for Innovation (i4i)
Programme Grants for Applied Research (PGfAR)
Public Health Research (PHR)Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB)

The following NIHR research training programmes:

NIHR Research Professorships

NIHR Fellowships

HEE/NIHR Integrated Clinical Academic Programme

Supporting information

For more information on previously-funded research in this area, please visit NIHR Open Data - Frailty