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Tackling frailty at primary care: evaluation of the effectiveness of a multicomponent intervention through a randomised controlled trial: study protocol

21 Feb 2020


This project focuses on how frailty is addressed in primary healthcare (PHC) and will evaluate the effectiveness of a multifactorial intervention (considering the appropriateness of the pharmaceutical prescription, the nutritional care provided and the exercise intervention) for persons with frailty, in terms of improving their functional capacity and reducing the incidence of adverse events related to frailty. The final evaluation will be made at 12 months’ follow-up.

Methods and analysis

Pragmatic multicentre cluster randomised controlled clinical trial, single blind with two arms: multifactorial intervention in PHC versus usual follow-up. The randomisation unit is the patient list and the analysis unit is the patient. In addition, a cost-effectiveness study and a qualitative study will be carried out, the latter based on semistructured interviews and focus groups. Two hundred persons (100 per study branch) all aged ≥70 years, presenting frailty, but functionally independent and resident in the community, will be recruited. A baseline evaluation will be carried out prior to the intervention, with follow-up at 6 and 12 months. The main study variables considered will be functional capacity and incidence of adverse events; the secondary variables considered will be the patients’ sociodemographic characteristics, nutritional status, level of physical activity and drug consumption, together with data on comorbidity, cognitive and affective status and health-related quality of life. Data will be analysed according to the intention-to-treat principle using a 5% significance level.

Ethics and dissemination

The study will at all times be conducted in strict accordance with the provisions of the Declaration of Helsinki and with the national legislation regulating patients’ autonomy. All patients recruited will be asked to provide written informed consent before taking part in the clinical trial. On completion of the study, the principal investigator expects to publish the results of this research in a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal.

Trial registration number


Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open