By 2025 some 500 million people will be living with osteoporosis, a chronic disease which weakens bones and leaves older adults at risk of a fragility fracture - a broken bone which typically occurs after a low-trauma fall. As a result, an estimated 13.5 million fragility fractures will occur worldwide.
Despite the urgent need to prioritise fragility fracture prevention, there is currently a glaring care gap in which up to 80% of those who have already broken a bone are not being identified and treated with effective therapies. People who have sustained an initial fragility fracture are five times more likely to fracture again, compared to those who have not fractured.
Professor Cyrus Cooper, IOF President and Professor of Musculoskeletal Science at NDORMS and at the University of Southampton, stated: “When one fragility fracture occurs, a patient is at imminent risk of sustaining subsequent fractures. Nevertheless, only 20% of fragility fracture patients are currently offered screening or treatment for osteoporosis, the underlying disease. Given the immense and growing burden of fragility fractures, it is clear that health care strategies must be put in place to reduce this unacceptable care gap.”
The new policy guidance issued by the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) under the framework of the Capture the Fracture® Partnership, makes the case for fracture prevention and shows the clear public health and financial benefits of Post-Fracture Care (PFC) Coordination Programs, also known as Fracture Liaison Services. When widely implemented, such programs represent the most effective strategy to address the fragility fracture crises affecting older populations worldwide.
‘Capture the Fracture® Partnership: Guidance for Policy Shaping, available on the Capture the Fracture® website, describes how and why coordinated, multidisciplinary systems of Post-Fracture Care are critical to building an effective policy response. The Guidance outlines the generic components of global, regional and national calls to action, explains the need for Post-Fracture Care program implementation and provides a step-by-step policy guide to help health care authorities and Post-Fracture Care coordinators evaluate their programs in hospitals and health systems worldwide.
IOF CEO Dr Philippe Halbout added: “This new document shows that there is an overwhelming humanitarian and health economic case to be made for the implementation of secondary fracture prevention strategies, and specifically Post-Fracture Care programs. Osteoporosis-related fractures of the hip and spine in older adults are associated with increased risk of death and long-term disability, more frequent hospital admissions, and loss of independence. This impacts heavily on family caregivers and all too often leads to nursing home admission.”