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Intern Med J. 2004 Mar;34(3):129-32.

Secondary prevention of fractures in older people: evaluation of a protocol for the investigation and treatment of osteoporosis.

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Older Persons Health, Princess Margaret Hospital, Christchurch, New Zealand.


It has been found previously that the investigation and treatment of osteoporosis following a fracture is poor, with only 9% of older people after a fracture being on effective osteoporosis treatment. To improve this aspect of post-fracture care in older people, a protocol has been instituted on an orthogeriatric rehabilitation ward in Christchurch, New Zealand. An audit was performed to assess the efficacy of this protocol in improving the investigation and treatment of osteoporosis (n = 193). Compliance with the investigation protocol was assessed and the pharmacological therapy initiated was requested from the general practitioner. All recommended blood-test investigations were requested in 62.8% of cases. Compared to a pre-protocol population, there was a marked increase in the measurement of bone mineral density (BMD; 93 vs 11%, P < 0.01) and vitamin D (95 vs 12%, P < 0.01). Vitamin D levels were low/-borderline in 95.6% of cases. BMD was performed in 77.7% of cases and showed osteoporosis and osteopenia to be present in 78.6 and 14.0%, respectively. For the 60 patients with BMD-confirmed osteoporosis whose therapy was obtained, 13.3% had no pharmacological therapy prescribed. Calcium, vitamin D or both were prescribed in 85.0%, bisphosphonates in 50.0% and hormone replacement therapy in 1.7% of patients. Vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis on the basis of the BMD result are very common. The institution of a protocol has shown a significant improvement in the management of osteoporosis following a fracture. Some of the multifactorial barriers to full implementation of the guidelines are described.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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