Differing approaches to falls and fracture prevention between Australia and Colombia
Fernando Gomez,1,2 Carmen Lucia Curcio,1 Pushpa Suriyaarachchi,2 Oddom Demontiero,2 Gustavo Duque2
1Research Group on Geriatrics and Gerontology, International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics Collaborative Center, University of Caldas, Manizales, Colombia; 2Ageing Bone Research Program, Sydney Medical School Nepean, The University of Sydney, Penrith, Australia
Abstract: Falls and fractures are major causes of morbidity and mortality in older people. More importantly, previous falls and/or fractures are the most important predictors of further events. Therefore, secondary prevention programs for falls and fractures are highly needed. However, the question is whether a secondary prevention model should focus on falls prevention alone or should be implemented in combination with fracture prevention. By comparing a falls prevention clinic in Manizales (Colombia) versus a falls and fracture prevention clinic in Sydney (Australia), the objective was to identify similarities and differences between these two programs and to propose an integrated model of care for secondary prevention of fall and fractures. A comparative study of services was performed using an internationally agreed taxonomy. Service provision was compared against benchmarks set by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and previous reports in the literature. Comparison included organization, administration, client characteristics, and interventions. Several similarities and a number of differences that could be easily unified into a single model are reported here. Similarities included population, a multidisciplinary team, and a multifactorial assessment and intervention. Differences were eligibility criteria, a bone health assessment component, and the therapeutic interventions most commonly used at each site. In Australia, bone health assessment is reinforced whereas in Colombia dizziness assessment and management is pivotal. The authors propose that falls clinic services should be operationally linked to osteoporosis services such as a "falls and fracture prevention clinic," which would facilitate a comprehensive intervention to prevent falls and fractures in older persons.
Keywords: outpatient clinics, falls and fracture services, geriatric health services, secondary prevention
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