Conference on the Prevention of Osteoporotic Fractures in Residential Aged Care Facilities

On 30 October, the Australian Institute for Musculoskeletal Science (AIMSS) organised the third Australian Consensus Conference on the Prevention of Osteoporotic Fractures in Residential Aged Care Facilities.

Professor Gustavo Duque
Professor Gustavo Duque

The event featured a keynote plenary lecture by Professor Alexandra Papaioannou, Geriatrician and Executive Director of the Geriatric Education and Research in Aging Sciences (GERAS) Centre at McMaster University (Canada). This webinar-based activity was attended by more than 100 health professionals from all over Australia.

Led by Professor Gustavo Duque, Chair of Medicine and Director of AIMSS at the University of Melbourne Western Precinct and Western Health, this is the third consensus conference aimed to update current Australian guidelines on how to prevent falls and fractures at this particular high risk setting. Osteoporosis imposes a significant burden on the quality of life of Australians aged over 60 years.

There are 20,000 osteoporotic hip fractures per year in Australia (increasing by 40 per cent each decade). Approximately 25 per cent of those who sustain a hip fracture die within 12 months post-fracture. Another 50 per cent suffer some level of dependence in their activities of daily living representing a direct cost to Australians of 1.9 billion dollars per year. Patients in residential aged care have several major risk factors to develop osteoporosis including lack of mobility, low sun exposure and malnutrition; all worsened this year by COVID-19. Despite the several treatments available for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, a high number of institutionalised older people remain untreated even though a high percentage of these older adults are mobile and have a high risk of falls and fractures. Therefore, clear guidelines on how to treat osteoporosis and prevent falls and fractures in aged care are needed.

A consensus plenary was held at the end of the conference where interventions were discussed and adopted by consensus. These conclusions will be submitted to a high-impact medical journal and will be distributed amongst Australian residential aged care facilities via the Osteosarcopenia Cards (OSCards), which are part of a continuing professional development offered by AIMSS to Australian General Practitioners in the fields of osteosarcopenia and falls and fractures prevention.