Elder Fragility Syndrome

Elder Fragility Syndrome


Introduction to Nursing Diagnosis: Elder Fragility Syndrome

NANDA nursing diagnoses are critical in providing standardized and evidence-based practice of care and treatment for any type of patient. Such is the case for Elder Fragility Syndrome (EFS), a universal term given to those experiencing physical or cognitive decline due to the aging process or illness. The diagnosis is classified by several characteristics and considerations and thus, provides a focus for nursing care with the goal of maintaining optimal function and wellbeing.

Nursing Diagnosis Definition

The nursing diagnosis definition of Elder Fragility Syndrome is "deterioration in the adaptive capacity of aged individuals and associated with increased morbidity and mortality." This diagnosis can be identified through subjective and objective indicators and should be managed accordingly.

Defining Characteristics: Subjective

  • Mental or physical fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cool extremities
  • Unsteadiness while walking
  • General weakness
  • Restlessness
  • Depression, anxiety, or fear
  • Agitation

Defining Characteristics: Objective

  • Signs of dehydration
  • Signs of acute discomfort
  • Muscle wasting
  • Decreased activity level
  • Inability to perform activities of daily living
  • Loss of concentration
  • Changes in behavior, attitude, or mental state
  • Gait deviations or difficulty walking

Related Factors

Elder Fragility Syndrome can be caused by various factors such as comorbid conditions, polypharmacy, malnutrition, long-term hospitalizations, certain infectious diseases, and psychosocial stressors. In addition, the aging process itself may contribute to the development of the disease.

Risk Population

Elderly individuals are particularly at risk of developing Elder Fragility Syndrome due to the natural aging process as well as other contributing factors. Those who have poor nutrition, multiple chronic health conditions, social isolation, limited resources and environmental hazards are also at an increased risk of developing EFS.

Associated Problems

Individuals with Elder Fragility Syndrome may experience further complications such as falls, pressure ulcers, diabetes, arthritis, deconditioning, delirium, and pneumonia. It is important to recognize the risks associated with EFS in order to better manage a patient’s condition.

Suggestions for Use

A nursing assessment should be conducted in order to identify the signs and symptoms of Elder Fragility Syndrome. After identification, a plan of care should be created that outlines the treatments, interventions, and goals for the patient.

Suggested Alternative Nursing Diagnosis

The following alternative NANDA diagnoses may be used depending on the patient’s individual situation:

  • Impaired Physical Mobility
  • Risk for Falls
  • Imbalanced Nutrition: Less than Body Requirements
  • Risk for Decreased Cardiac Output
  • Risk for Impaired Skin Integrity
  • Chronic Confusion
  • Impaired Memory

Usage Tips

When working with elderly patients and diagnosing Elder Fragility Syndrome, there are some key points to keep in mind. It is important to assess the patient’s risk factors, provide adequate nutrition, assess for safety concerns, and ensure the patient is comfortable and has adequate social support.

NOC Results

The following are potential NOC results for Elder Fragility Syndrome:

  • Mobility: Physical - Ability to move from one area to another in a timely manner and safely.
  • Tissue Integrity: Skin and Mucous Membranes - Ability to prevent infection.
  • Sleep/Rest Pattern - Ability to restore vital energy.
  • Cognitive Performance - Ability to think, reason, remember, and use judgment.
  • Physical Performance - Ability to perform physical activities without undue fatigue.
  • Quality of Life - Ability to achieve an optimal level of wellness and satisfaction with life.

NIC Interventions

The following are potential NIC interventions for Elder Fragility Syndrome:

  • Clinical Monitoring - Monitoring patient’s progress in order to adjust the plan of care.
  • Fall Prevention - Involving strategies such as exercise, footwear changes and physical environment modifications to reduce the risk of falls.
  • Skin Care Management - Implementing topical agents, compresses and hygienic practices to protect the skin from damage.
  • Nutritional Monitoring - Monitoring for proper nutrition and implementing interventions as needed.
  • Pain Management - Providing individualized interventions for the management of pain.
  • Environmental Intervention - Identifying and eliminating hazards in the environment to promote safety.


Elder Fragility Syndrome is a serious condition that affects many elderly individuals. It is important to be aware of the risks associated with this condition and to take proper precautions in order to provide the best care possible. Through the use of NANDA nursing diagnoses, defining characteristics, related factors, risk populations, associated problems, and appropriate NIC and NOC interventions, nurses can create an effective plan of care to promote the wellbeing of the elderly population.


  • How do nurses diagnose Elder Fragility Syndrome? Nurses can diagnose Elder Fragility Syndrome by assessing patient’s subjective and objective indicators and related factors.
  • What are some associated problems with Elder Fragility Syndrome? Some associated problems include falls, pressure ulcers, diabetes, arthritis, deconditioning, delirium, and pneumonia.
  • What are some NIC interventions for Elder Fragility Syndrome? Some NIC interventions include clinical monitoring, fall prevention, skin care management, nutritional monitoring, pain management, and environmental intervention.

Isabella White

Hello to all nursing enthusiasts! I'm Isabella White and I'm thrilled to welcome you to this space dedicated to the exciting world of nursing. Let me share a little about myself and what we can expect together on this journey. About Me: Nursing is more than just a profession to me, it's a calling. When I'm not caring for my patients or learning more about health and wellness, you'll find me enjoying the great outdoors, exploring new trails in nature, or savoring a good cup of coffee with close friends. I believe in the balance between caring for others and self-care, and I'm here to share that philosophy with you. My Commitment to You: In this space, I commit to being your reliable guide in the world of nursing. Together, we'll explore health topics, share practical tips, and support each other on our journeys to wellness. But we'll also celebrate life beyond the hospital walls, finding moments of joy in the everyday and seeking adventures that inspire us to live fully. In summary, this is a place where nursing meets life, where we'll find support, inspiration, and hopefully a little fun along the way. Thank you for joining me on this exciting journey. Welcome to a world of care, knowledge, and connection! Sincerely, Isabella White

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