Frailty of Māori, Pasifika, and non-Māori/non-Pasifika older people in New Zealand: a national population study of older people referred for home care services

Rebecca Abey-Nesbit, Nancye M Peel, Hector Matthews, Ruth E Hubbard, Prasad S Nishtala, Ulrich Bergler, Joanne M Deely, John W Pickering, Philip J Schluter, Hamish A Jamieson

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Abstract

Background

Little is known about the prevalence of frailty in indigenous populations. We developed a frailty index (FI) for older New Zealand Māori and Pasifika who require publicly funded support services.
Methods

An FI was developed for New Zealand adults aged 65 and older who had an interRAI Home Care assessment between June 1, 2012 and October 30, 2015. A frailty score for each participant was calculated by summing the number of deficits recorded and dividing by the total number of possible deficits. This created a FI with a potential range from 0 to 1. Linear regression models for FIs with ethnicity were adjusted for age and sex. Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between the FI and mortality for Māori, Pasifika, and non-Māori/non-Pasifika.
Results

Of 54 345 participants, 3096 (5.7%) identified as Māori, 1846 (3.4%) were Pasifika, and 49 415 (86.7%) identified as neither Māori nor Pasifika. New Zealand Europeans (48 178, 97.5%) constituted most of the latter group. Within each sex, the mean FIs for Māori and Pasifika were greater than the mean FIs for non-Māori and non-Pasifika, with the difference being more pronounced in women. The FI was associated with mortality (Māori subhazard ratio [SHR] 2.53, 95% CI 1.63–3.95; Pasifika SHR 6.03, 95% CI 3.06–11.90; non-Māori and non-Pasifika SHR 2.86, 95% CI 2.53–3.25).
Conclusions

This study demonstrated differences in FI between the ethnicities in this select cohort. After adjustment for age and sex, increases in FI were associated with increased mortality. This suggests that FI is predictive of poor outcomes in these ethnic groups.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberGLAA265
Pages (from-to)1101-1107
JournalJournal of Gerontology: series A - Medical Sciences
Volume76
Issue number6
Early online date19 Oct 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021

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