More elderly care physicians are using standardised assessment tools in routine healthcare to generate risk profi les for assessed individuals. These screening tools are able to identify a subgroup of older people at high risk of hospital admission, institutionalisation or death as well as secondary outcomes relating to other aspects of health and well being. Professor Ian Philp, Emily Hoyle, Emma O’Brien and Chris Parker review a number of screening instruments that could be incorporated into an assessment by primary healthcare practitioners.