COMPLETE: Improving the assessment of older people in hospital by implementing the measurement of grip strength into routine ward care.

Theme 2

Ageing and Dementia

The problem:
Low hand grip strength (muscular strength) in older patients is linked with increased postoperative complications, longer length of stay, increased functional limitations and disability. Measuring grip strength on admission to hospital is simple and inexpensive. Yet, grip strength measurement is not routinely used and our aim is to evaluate the feasibility of using grip strength measurement in everyday clinical practice.

The solution:
• 155 nurses trained to measure grip strength and interpret the results
• Care plan for those with low grip strength developed
• Routine measurement implemented on 5 wards 


  • It was feasible, cheap and acceptable to train a large
    number of staff and to routinely measuring grip strength of older patients on

  • A high percentage of patients were found to be frail and at high risk of poor
    healthcare outcomes and sarcopenia.
  • Staff across MOP have recognised the urgent need to offer high-protein oral
    nutritional supplements and encourage mobility and exercises to their patients.
  • We have decided that routine use of grip strength among this group of patients
    (over 80 years old) is not necessary. Instead, routine use of fortisips compact
    and exercises will be adopted.
  • Grip strength measurement could be used in younger populations (65 years and
    above) or with specific patients such as those with fragility fractures.

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