Find resources and information to support hospices to deliver frailty attuned models of care.

What is frailty?


Frailty is a distinctive state of health that is related to the ageing process, in which multiple body systems gradually lose their in-built reserves [1].

People living with frailty often have additional multiple health problems including cognitive decline.

How does frailty affect older adults?


Living with frailty is different from living with one life-limiting disease. The trajectory towards end of life is more uncertain and typically includes episodes of acute illness and periods of full or partial recovery. 

Frailty is a cause of death in older people [2], [3], which means those with frailty are likely to form a significant proportion of people with palliative care need. People with frailty have a range of  needs that are responsive to palliative care interventions, but studies reveal they are less likely to receive palliative care than people with advanced cancer [4]. People with frailty are often underserved at end of life [5].

Hospices are uniquely placed to enable older people with advancing frailty to have a better quality of life, by responding to individuals’ needs and working creatively and holistically to deliver and support care.

Find out more by watching a recording of our conference session about frailty care.

Extending Frailty Care programme


Our Extending Frailty Care programme invites hospices to think differently and creatively to support high quality care for older people with frailty at end of life. It runs from April 2022 to March 2025.

Programme overview

Watch Cat Sullivan, Senior Clinical and Quality Improvement Lead, Hospice UK, give an overview of the programme (this video was taken from a presentation to our Expert Reference Group, in phase 1 of the programme).

Click or tap the image to play the video.

Find out more about the Extending Frailty Care programme

Funded projects


As part of the Extending Frailty Care programme, we are funding 11 hospices to develop and deliver innovative models of frailty care. These models demonstrate and share effective ways of caring for, and working with, people aged over 65 who have advancing frailty.

The successful grant projects have now been confirmed. Find out more about their projects.

Project ECHO


All our grant funded projects will be participating in a Project ECHO Network, to share learning and support each other. We will be disseminating this learning regularly. 



We have also employed external evaluators to help us assess the impact of the programme. Find out more about our external evaluation.

Opportunities for improvement

Watch Anita Hayes, Head of Clinical Leadership, Hospice UK, outline the opportunities for improvement in frailty care (this video was taken from a presentation to our Expert Reference Group, in phase 1 of the programme).

Click or tap the image to play the video.

Useful sources of information


The following organisations provide information about frailty care that you might find helpful. The content and views expressed by these organisations do not represent the views of Hospice UK.

Kirby Laing Foundation

We would like to acknowledge the generous support provided by the Kirby Laing Foundation towards the Extending Frailty Care programme, without which the programme would not be possible.

Reviewed by colleagues in the Living and Dying Well Research Group, University of Surrey

This content was produced in collaboration with the Living and Dying Well Research Group at the University of Surrey.



1.    Clegg, A. et al. Frailty in elderly people. The Lancet. 2013; 381(9868):752-62.9

2.    Peng, Y., Zhong, GC., Zhou, X. et al. Frailty and risks of all-cause and cause-specific death in community-dwelling adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Geriatrics 2022; 22(725). 

3.    A statement from the BGS: British Geriatrics Society. End of Life Care in Frailty: Identification and prognostication. [internet] 2020 [cited 20 Feb 2023]

4.    Hamaker, M.E., van den Bos, F. and Rostoft, S. Frailty and Palliative Care. BMJ Supportive and Palliative Care 2020; 10:262-264

5.    Stow D, Spiers G, Matthews FE, Hanratty B. What is the evidence that people with frailty have needs for palliative care at the end of life? A systematic review and narrative synthesis. Palliative Medicine. 2019;33(4):399-414. doi:10.1177/0269216319828650



Image: courtesy of In-Press Photography via The Centre for Ageing Better