Dr. Xiaowei Song, Clinical scientist
Written by Elaine O'Connor, Senior Consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

Fraser Health was awarded a $1.38 million grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) to research and test an electronic comprehensive geriatric assessment tool that generates a frailty index.

Photo: Dr. Xiaowei Song, a neuroimaging expert who has studied frailty for 15 years. She currently works out of the new Fraser Health and Simon Fraser University (SFU) collaborative NeuroTech and ImageTech Labs at Surrey Memorial Hospital studying brain health in aging.

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The future of seniors’ health care is happening here.

Fraser Health was awarded a $1.38 million grant from the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) to research and test an electronic comprehensive geriatric assessment tool that generates a frailty index.

The the electronic Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment – Frailty Index, or eFI-CGA as it is known, is embedded into a physician’s electronic medical record and is able to calculate the patient’s frailty index at point of service. The index is a sensitive measure of frailty and now because of the eFI-CGA availability in clinic settings it allows clinicians to track frailty over time. This enables the creation of individualized health plans for seniors that can prevent or delay onset of frailty.

Clinical scientist Dr. Xiaowei Song received the four-year award as the principal investigator along with Dr. Kenneth Rockwood, a world leader in frailty research from Dalhousie University, and Fraser Health’s Annette Garm, Executive Leader of CARES (Community Actions and Resources Empowering Seniors), Dr. Grace Park, Regional Medical Director, and other researchers.

“When people get older they tend to accumulate different types of problems, and it puts seniors at risk of adverse health outcomes, and even death,” said Dr. Song, a neuroimaging expert who has studied frailty for 15 years. She currently works out of the new Fraser Health and Simon Fraser University collaborative NeuroTech and ImageTech Labs at Surrey Memorial Hospital studying brain health in aging. The frailty index, she explained, “can act like a canary in a coal mine to tell us in advance that something could go wrong with their health.”

The eFI-CGA was previously developed by Dr. Park and Annette Garm with Dr. Song and Dr. Rockwood, stemming from foundational work in the CARES project. The grant supports building a valid and reliable electronic frailty index tool working with CARES and Fraser Health’s International Resident Assessment Instrument data for widespread clinical use.

Read the full article on the CIHR award and Fraser Health’s innovative work in senior’s care using the frailty index.

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