Our bone health nurses help older adults who have recently broken or fractured a bone. We see patients who have suffered from a fragility or low impact fracture.
A fragility fracture is a broken bone due to osteoporosis. Common sites where this occurs are the hip, wrist, shoulder, pelvis, ankle or spine (vertebrae).
You will receive an assessment for osteoporosis by a bone health specialist nurse. Following the assessment, people under the age of 75 will typically have a bone density scan (called a ‘DEXA’ scan) arranged as an outpatient.
If you are over 75, current guidelines from NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) recommend starting osteoporosis treatment without the need for a DEXA scan. The type of medication prescribed will vary upon individual assessment. The most common drug treatment used is Bisphoshonate (eg Alendronate or Risedronate) in conjunction with a Calcium and Vitamin D preparation.
Osteoporosis treatment should continue for at least five years. At this point your GP needs to review your fracture and risk treatment.
Our nurses can offer an assessment of your risk of osteoporosis and further fractures. They may give you lifestyle advice, refer you for a bone density scan and/or offer treatment if required. They can identify patients who are at risk of falling and refer you to specialist services as appropriate.
The nurses see patients on wards in Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals as well as in outpatient services across Gloucestershire.
You can contact our team yourself or you can be referred through any healthcare professional who may already be working with you. You can call us, write to us with a referral, or email us.
Frequently asked questions
What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis literally means “porous bones”. As people age, bone loss occurs gradually, leading to softening or weakening of the bone.
How common is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is very common, affecting 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50. It can result in loss of independence, pain and disability.
Can I help prevent osteoporosis?
A good balanced diet and regular weight bearing exercise can help to strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis.
Who is most at risk of osteoporosis?
- Nursing/residential home residents
- Housebound older people
- Post-menopausal women
- Those who have already had a fracture
- Those on steroid tablets
What are the risk factors?
- Drinking more than 2 units of alcohol per day
- A family history of osteoporosis or hip fracture
- Certain chronic medical conditions
- Being underweight
- Taking little or no physical exercise
Useful links and information
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Falls Assessment and Education Service
Royal Osteoporosis Society
Provides information as well as details of local support groups
Call 0808 8000035 or visit https://theros.org.uk/