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Calls for hospitals to make osteoporosis plans a priority

Australian hospitals still aren’t doing enough to make osteoporosis plans a priority for patients leaving hospital after a hip fracture – but they’re getting better at it.

The Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR), based at Neuroscience Research Australia, released its 2018 report that reveals patient- and facility-level data about hip fracture care across both countries.

It showed that only 25 per cent of hip fracture patients leave hospital on active treatment for osteoporosis and only 24 per cent of hospitals provide individualised written information on prevention of future falls and fractures.

While the data showed an improvement over last year’s report, geriatrician and Registry co-chair Professor Jacqueline Close said Australia was still significantly behind other countries in closing the osteoporosis care gap.

“There are huge opportunities to further improve hip fracture care, including the prevention of future falls and fractures. Strong evidence exists to support treatment of osteoporosis in this population yet all too frequently we fail to offer treatments which can impact on people’s lives,” said Close. “Hospitals need to work toward closing the care gap to ensure hip fracture patients go home with an individualised care plan designed to prevent future fractures.”

With hospitals now sharing their waiting times from arrival to surgery, ANZHFR co-chair Professor Ian Harris, an orthopedic surgeon, said the report includes a more transparent snapshot of performance against a national standard.

The report showed that the average time patients are waiting for surgery is 30 hours, unless they're transferred to another hospital for their operation – in that case it's 54 hours.

“Currently the most common delay for people waiting more than 48 hours to surgery is access to operating theatre time. This is something we must address,” Harris said.

The number of hip fractures in Australia continues to increase in line with the rising number of older adults. By 2022 there will be more than 30,000 hip fractures each year.

The latest hospital figures prompted NeuRA to publish a Hip Fracture Care Guide for patients, their families and carers addressing frequently asked questions across the hip fracture journey.

Harris said the team aims to work with hospitals across Australia and New Zealand to increase the uptake of treatments proven to help.


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