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Canadian Frailty Network*

$47.8 million for 2012-23
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Canadian Frailty Network

Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

Scientific Director & CEO
John Muscedere John Muscedere

Board chair
Russell Williams Russell Williams
Senior Vice President, Mission, Diabetes Canada

Improving care for frail elderly Canadians

With a growing population of elderly people in Canada, and continued advances in medical care, the technology and methods for treating frail elderly and providing appropriate end-of-life care is a major issue facing Canadas health and social care systems. Technologies and treatments have proven extremely beneficial in helping Canadians live longer with chronic disease. Yet there is mounting evidence that their unwanted use at the end of life is associated with worse ratings of quality of life for both patients and families. Many of these technologies and treatments are also expensive. There is a serious and immediate need to improve the care of seriously ill, frail elderly patients through a rigorous evaluation and ethical implementation of health care technologies, and to improve communication and decision-making about the use of these life-sustaining technologies.

The Canadian Frailty Network (CFN) is a national initiative to improve care for older Canadians living with frailty, increase frailty recognition and assessment, support research and interventions, and mobilize evidence to transform health and social care for frail older Canadians. CFN works to break down health silos by facilitating a collaborative and family-centric approach across disciplines and sectors to identify gaps in care and develop solutions to complex questions from acute and critical care to community care. Through research and knowledge sharing, and training the next generation to care for this vulnerable population, CFN aims to have an impact in four areas: improved care of the sick elderly; improved efficiency of the health care system; evidence-informed policy and practice; and reduced moral distress for patients, families, and caregivers.

Among the results

  • CFNs network included nearly 1,000 researchers, 49 university and teaching hospitals, more than 500 HQP, 20 industry and business partners, 20 government agencies, and over 100 community agencies for a network of more than 4,500 individuals dedicated to improving the lives of older Canadians living with frailty and their friend and family caregivers. CFN has become known as a resource for collaborative work both nationally and internationally, as exemplified by its involvement with the International Federation on Ageings 15th Global Conference on Ageing.
  • In 2021, with input from individuals across 25 countries, CFN completed its international Frailty Outcomes ConsensUS (FOCUS) initiative which established common data elements and common outcome measures to improve the quality and aggregation of clinical research data in frailty. Results of the FOCUS project were published in BMC Geriatrics in spring of 2022, as an open-access publication.
  • CFNs AVOID Frailty public health campaign has empowered older Canadians to take control of their health as they age and reduce their risk of frailty. The campaign is the basis of the AVOID Frailty Program that CFN launched in Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox, and Addington (KFL&A), a free resource for individuals 60 and older that uses evidence-based interventions to promote healthy aging. The AVOID Frailty Program and learnings from the KFL&A site will inform future Centres for Healthy Aging across Canada.
  • CFNs free online education module provides all Canadians with increased access to evidence-based information on frailty. It is particularly useful for healthcare providers of older adults, describing what frailty is, how it is assessed, and ways that it can be prevented and mitigated. As of May 2022, it has been accessed more than 1,100 times by individuals from a variety of sectors, both medical and non-medical.
  • CFNs investment in Dr. Linda Lee and teams MINT (Multispecialty, Interprofessional, Team-based) Memory Clinics has allowed the proven and innovative approach to dementia care to expand nationally, with over 100 locations across Canada. The approach trains primary care providers and partners with specialists and community services to provide access to high-quality dementia care within a local doctors office. This integrated model of care can support 90% of persons living with dementia as well as their families, reducing wait times by nearly 50%. CFNs investment is important, because recent research shows that frailty is often a predictor of cognitive diseases and can play a key role in dementia symptoms and diagnosis.

Connect with Canadian Frailty Network

* (formerly known as Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network)


April 16, 2021