Fracture Liaison Service helps reduce future fractures for patients in Southern
Following a review by ACC of how Fracture Liaison is carried out across NZ, WellSouth were awarded this new contract from 1 July this year. The Fracture Liaison Service delivered by WellSouth aims to promote better bone health and reduce the likelihood of secondary fractures in people who have had a fragility fracture in close collaboration with general practice.
Fragility fractures are those occurring from low-impact or low-level falls and can be an early indication of bone conditions or disease, such as osteoporosis. But providing extra support to patients, suggesting prescriptive measures, and exercise interventions, can help reduce the likelihood of future fractures including, hip fractures.
Three Assessment calls over the year
The Fracture Liaison Service will follow up patients over aged 50, either referred to the service by general practices, or identified through fracture reporting shared from the Southern DHB and ACC, who have sustained a likely fragility fracture.
A bone health assessment, falls risk assessment and personalised care plan are done during an initial contact by telephone within the first 12 weeks following the fracture – with further follow ups at 16 and 52 weeks. Interventions and advice can include recommendations for community-based strength and balance exercise classes or introducing vitamin D supplements. In consultation with the patient’s general practice, prescribing bisphosphonates to prevent bone loss and reduce a patients risk of spine and hip fractures may also be an option.
“The programme is intended to systematically identify people who have had a fragility fracture with the aim of preventing subsequent fractures,” says Sharron Feist, WellSouth Clinical Services Manager. “We want to help people live healthier lives by identifying interventions, in partnership with their general practitioner, to improve their bone health. The intention is to reduce future fractures”
The programme started on 1 July, with an estimated 100 patients expected to be contacted each month.
WellSouth exercise physiologist Lisa Wallbutton is one of the clinicians making the patient calls. “People I’ve spoken with so far appreciate the call, the extra information and I think it helps make them more mindful of what they can do to be active in managing their own health.”
Registered nurse Tracey Barnett, says fragility fractures can have a huge impact on health: “Working with FLS gives me the opportunity to be in a position to advise about good bone health, lifestyle modifications and commencement of treatments aimed at reducing risks of falls and fractures. The response from Practice Nurses at the General Practices has been very positive with prevention of a subsequent fracture.”
The Fracture Liaison Service is a national programme and WellSouth is the only primary health network in the country to deliver the service. Elsewhere it is delivered by DHBs in hospital based services.
From 01 October, general practices will be able to refer to the FLS and In-home Strength and Balance in the patient portal rather than via ERMs.
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