Effective treatment of fragile bones

Hennepin County Medical Center achieves national recognition for effective treatment of patients with fragile bones.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation estimates that 10 million adults in the U.S. have osteoporosis and an additional 43 million patients have low bone mass. They say that most will go undiagnosed and untreated.

Patients with osteoporosis sustain broken bones more easily, and such injuries (also known as a fragility fracture when associated with osteoporosis) are often the first sign that a person has osteoporosis. Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of the nearly 2 million individuals who experience fragility fractures each year are tested or treated for osteoporosis after their fracture.

One of the strongest risk factors for sustaining a fragility fracture is a history of a prior fracture. Thus, proper diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis is crucial for these patients. Failing to prevent future fractures can be deadly; nearly 25 percent of patients who suffer a hip fracture die within a year. The majority of patients who survive experience a loss of independence and often require long-term nursing home care.

HCMC leading the way in post-fracture patient care

HCMC has taken steps to ensure its osteoporotic fracture patients receive the treatment and care they deserve through participation in The American Orthopaedic Association’s Own the Bone® Quality Improvement (QI) Program. HCMC joins over 180 health care institutions nationwide that have joined Own the Bone and taken the initiative to ensure their osteoporotic fracture patients receive the treatment and care they deserve. Through the Own the Bone Program and its national web-based quality improvement registry, HCMC tracks the care of its patients and provides a care coordinator to ensure that patients with broken bones complicated by osteoporosis are identified, evaluated and treated.

HCMC is proud to announce they have received an Own the Bone Star Performer designation this year, an achievement reserved only for institutions that perform the highest level of fragility fracture and bone health care. Own the Bone Star Performers, like HCMC, must achieve a 75 percent compliance rate with at least 5 of the 10 Own the Bone prevention measures, including:

• Educating patients on the importance of taking calcium and vitamin D
• Physical activity
• Preventing falls
• Limiting alcohol intake and quitting smoking
• Recommending and initiating bone mineral density testing
• Discussing medications and treatment (when applicable)
• Providing written communication to the patient and his or her physician regarding specific risk factors and treatment recommendations

Schmidt_Andrew_2005Through our participation in Own the Bone and recognition as an Own the Bone Star Performer, HCMC has demonstrated a commitment to helping patients understand their risk for future fractures and the steps they can take to prevent them. As Andrew Schmidt, MD, Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at HCMC says, “If you sustain a fragility fracture, doctors at HCMC will not only treat your fracture, but assess your overall bone health too. HCMC is proud to be a Star performer in a national program that improves care and reduces the risk of subsequent fracture in patients with osteoporosis.”


What can people do to protect their bones?

• Get adequate calcium and vitamin D, either through diet or supplements, if necessary
• Engage in regular weight bearing and muscle strengthening exercise
• Avoid smoking and limit alcohol to 2-3 drinks per day
• If so, have you or a loved one had a broken bone over age 50? Talk to your health care provider and get a bone density screening to determine if osteoporosis might be the cause and learn additional steps you might need to take to prevent future fractures

For more information about HCMC’s Own the Bone program and treatment options, please contact: 612-873-6963.

Share Button