The osteoporosis care gap

The release of the Australia and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR) 2018 annual reporthas revealed a significant need for improvement in the management and prevention of osteoporotic fractures in our elderly population.

There is a call for hospitals to prioritise osteoporosis treatment plans when discharging patients following a hip fracture. This follows data revealing only 25 per cent of hip fracture patients leave hospital on active osteoporosis treatment, and only 24 per cent of hospitals provide individualised written information on prevention of future falls and fractures.

This is not the first time the osteoporosis care gap has been identified, with the Australian National SOS Fracture Alliancerecognising Australia as having one of the world’s poorest rates of identifying and managing osteoporotic fractures.

Osteoporosis, a bone weakening condition, affects up to 50 per cent of womenover the age of 50 and causes more hospitalisations than heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer together. Though treatments have been available for over a decade, majority of people go undiagnosed and untreated.

Up to 50 per cent of hip fracture patients have previously had a less serious fracture, such as a wrist or pelvis, however only 8 per cent these patients were being treated for osteoporosis at the time of hospital admission. This highlights the importance of earlier diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis after the first break (or even before) to prevent more serious, more debilitating fractures later on.

With up to 25 per cent of hip fracture patients dying within a year of the fracture, and expected future costs of $1.3 billion by 2020, there is an opportunity for Australian hospitals and GPs to work together to improve hip fracture care and prevent future falls and fractures.

VIVA! has been lucky enough to work with a number of stakeholders to raise awareness and improve outcomes for both patients and osteoporosis health care practitioners, and look forward to continuing this important work in the future.

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