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Benefits of fracture liaison services are highlighted to coincide with World Osteoporosis Day

Power Diary 3rd May 2022
Power Diary 3rd May 2022

Fracture liaison services should available much more widely than they currently are, according to the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF)

In a call for action released today on World Osteoporosis Day (20 October), the IOF argues that fracture liaison services are a good example of post-fracture care coordination programmes.

According to a world map on the IOF's website, exemplary services are currently available at a number of sites in all four UK countries, including Eastbourne District General Hospital, Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and Craigavon Area Hospital in Northern Ireland.

What is a fracture liaison service? 

  • it is a coordinated, multidisciplinary model of care ensuring that everyone arriving at a hospital with a fragility fracture is assessed appropriately
  • patients should receive the information and interventions they need to reduce their risk of further fractures
  • most patients will receive rehabilitation and lifestyle advice, prescriptions for effective treatments, monitoring, and be referred to a falls prevention service [source IOF]

High rates of fragility fractures

One woman in three and one man in five men can expect to sustain a fragility fracture from the age of 50 onwards. Among those who survive a hip fracture, one in three (33 per cent) are totally dependent or in a nursing home in the year following the fracture.

Cyrus Cooper, IOF president, said: ‘We know that up to half of the patients who present to hospital with a hip fracture had broken another bone in the months or years before breaking their hip.

‘We also know that without treatment for osteoporosis, a woman who has had a first spine fracture is at substantial risk for additional fractures within the next one to two years.

‘Nevertheless, although it would be critically important to ensure that all patients receive timely preventative intervention, approximately 80 per cent of fracture patients worldwide do not get assessed and treated for osteoporosis.’

Paucity of services

Despite the benefits of systematic post-fracture care for secondary fracture prevention, very few countries offer these programmes, the IOF states. A recent study revealed that eight European countries do not have any fracture liaison services; 13 had poor coverage and only six reported moderate coverage (with a fracture liaison service in more than a quarter of hospitals nationally).

For more details, see: https://www.capturethefracture.org

Post-fracture programmes are a 'worthwhile healthcare investment which, most importantly, pays off by helping older adults remain healthy, active, and independent as they age' [Philippe Halbout, IOF]

Philippe Halbout, IOF chief executive officer, said: ‘Due to the ageing of the world’s populations, it is expected that by 2050, the global incidence of hip fracture will increase by 310 per cent in men and 240 per cent in women, compared to rates in 1990.'

Dr Halbout urged all healthcare authorities to implement post-fracture care coordination programmes in their hospitals. He added: ‘It is a worthwhile healthcare investment which, most importantly, pays off by helping older adults remain healthy, active, and independent as they age.’ 

Life with Osteoporosis in the UK 

Meanwhile in the UK, where the condition affects 3.5 million people, the Royal Osteoporosis Society (ROS) launched its Life with Osteoporosis report today.

Key findings from a survey conducted by the ROS among people with the condition include:

  • one in four (26 per cent) lives with long-term pain
  • just over half (56 per cent) felt confident about managing their pain – a 10-point drop from 2014
  • four in ten (42 per cent) said their osteoporosis affected them physically; 71 per cent had suffered a loss in height or change in body shape, including curvature of the spine (warning signs often mistaken for ‘just getting old’)
  • just over half (51 per cent) reduced or stopped hobbies, while 47 per cent cut back on social activities

One in five (17 per cent) said they had scaled back their work because of their osteoporosis – either retiring early or reducing their hours. This suggests the disease could be costing the UK economy significantly lower output from more than 500,000 people, the ROS says.

To download a copy of the Life with Osteoporosis report, visit: https://strwebprdmedia.blob.core.windows.net/media/h3wnxvdq/ros-life-with-osteoporosis-report-2021.pdf

About World Osteoporosis Day

World Osteoporosis Day is marked annually on 20 October to raise awareness about bone health and osteoporosis prevention. The banner for this year's campaign is ‘Take Action For Bone Health’. Supporters are calling for global action to fight osteoporosis and related fractures worldwide.

For more details, visit: http://www.worldosteoporosisday.org

Power Diary 3rd May 2022
Power Diary 3rd May 2022
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