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Canadian Frailty Network - CFN*

$47.8 million for 2012-23
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Canadian Frailty Network

Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario

Scientific Director
John Muscedere John Muscedere

Board chair
Russell Williams Russell Williams
Vice President, Government Relations and Public Policy, Canadian Diabetes Association

Improving care for frail elderly Canadians

The opportunity

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 Canada’s 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.

How CFN is seizing the opportunity

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

  • CFN has funded the Frailty Outcomes ConsensUS (FOCUS) initiative which aims to establish common data elements (CDEs) and common outcome measures (COMs) to improve the quality and aggregation of clinical research data in frailty. In December 2020, CFN hosted the final expert stakeholder consensus virtual meeting that was attended by global stakeholders to finalize the ultimate set of CDEs and COMs for frailty, and plans for disseminating and facilitating uptake of the set were achieved.
  • CFN’s AVOID Frailty public health campaign has empowered older Canadians to take control of their health as they age and reduce their risk of frailty. This campaign is the basis of the AVOID Frailty Program that will inform future Centres for Healthy Aging across Canada.
  • CFN funded the work of Dr. Heather Keller, who created and validated an evidence-based care pathway that involves a malnutrition screening tool and implemented nutrition care best practices in hospital medical units. With continued CFN funding, Dr. Keller and her collaborators are scaling up the intervention and testing its impact on patient outcomes across Canadian hospitals.
  • CFN developed an online educational module that aims to educate healthcare providers of older adults on what frailty is, how it is assessed, and ways that it can be prevented and mitigated. This module is CME accredited and free to access.
  • A CFN-funded study showed the positive impacts of a volunteer based program in improving social connections and providing access to community resources in rural areas of Alberta. This program has grown, and the program is now offered in six provinces, with 15 new sites launching in 2019.

Connect with CFN

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


April 16, 2021
November 4, 2020
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Web Based Videoconferencing for Rural Palliative Care Consultation in the Home
April 13, 2017
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Modeling changes in assessments to predict needs and guide care planning in home care
March 1, 2017
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A scoping review of evidence for measuring frailty in hospital settings
February 15, 2017
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Evidence Review: Antidepressants for Frail Older Adults with Depression or Neuropsy
February 1, 2017
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Frailty Assessment of Older Canadians Using Emergency Services with Tablet Technology
January 25, 2017
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Talk to me: Ill patients' views on physician behaviours influencing quality of end-of-life conversations
December 14, 2016
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Volunteer and healthcare provider partnerships to provide navigation for rural elderly
December 7, 2016
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Improve decision making involving frail elderly and caregivers on location of care
November 30, 2016
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E-CYCLE: Clinical trial of in bed cycling in elderly, mechanically ventilated patients
November 16, 2016
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Pilot study of MEdication RAtionalization intervention
October 6, 2016
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Fostering End of Life Conversations, Care and Community Among LGBT Older Canadians
September 7, 2016
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Sex differences in admission to ICU: exploring the role of social support factors
August 31, 2016
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Interventions to prevent and treat frailty in community dwelling older adults
July 21, 2016
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Discharging elders from ED to community: What you need to know
July 6, 2016
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Decision making and communication tools for hospitalized patients
June 15, 2016
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Describing care received by frail elderly patients nearing EOL in Canada
June 1, 2016
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Development and testing of a standardized communication forms
May 25, 2016
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Frailty measure for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities
May 4, 2016
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CFN Webinar: An electronic QOL and practice support system QPSS for older adult care
April 20, 2016
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Engaging Older Adults in Healthcare Research, Planning, and Decision Making
April 19, 2016
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Benchmarking end-of-life care practices for elderly people receiving primary care
April 6, 2016
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ASILA simulation prototype on outcomes of frail seniors
March 23, 2016
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Clinical tools for nutritional pathway involving hospitalized, older adults
February 24, 2016
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Perspectives on aging and frailty with Dr. Duncan Sinclair
October 8, 2015
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TVN – Improving care for the frail elderly
July 4, 2014