Female nursing home residents at lesser risk of osteoporotic fractures

New research presented at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis in Toronto, Canada suggests female nursing home residents have fewer skeletal fractures and are older when those fractures occur than are women who live at home (conference abstract OC5). The findings come from a study of men and women aged 60 or older who were diagnosed with hip fracture at Geneva University Hospital from 1991 to 2000. Geneva University Hospital diagnoses 95% of all hip fractures occurring in Switzerland.

Presenter Dr. Thierry Chevalley, from the hospital's Department of Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, said the study shows annual rates of hip fracture among Swiss women decreased during the 1990s by 1.3% per year. The trend was concentrated entirely among female nursing home residents, however. Chevalley suggests two factors might explain the lessening fracture risk among nursing home residents. "One is a higher level prescription of calcium and vitamin D and to a lesser extent of anti-osteoporotic drugs," he explained. "And the other is that women in nursing homes get better preventative care regarding risk factors for falls, and that care translates to a small decrease in the risk of hip fracture."

No similar trend was observed with respect to Swiss men, who are generally at lesser risk of osteoporosis and who therefore don't get the same level of preventative care and attention, Chevalley said. "We'd like to extend the period of study to 15 years to see if we can confirm the decrease in hip fracture incidence between sexes and also to see what happens among women living at home over a longer time period."

Care Improvements Decrease Risk

Meanwhile, Danielle Preedy from the National Osteoporosis Society in Bath, UK, has shown that with the appropriate care, elderly women living in nursing homes can reduce their risk of falls and bone fractures by up to 50% (conference abstract P102).

The finding suggests untapped opportunities to limit

Contact: Andrew Leopold
International Osteoporosis Foundation

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