Fuseworks Media

Taranaki Fracture Liaison service sky high following international achievement

The Taranaki Fracture Liaison service (FLS) has been recognised as a star asset to the community, receiving the Silver Star rating accreditation through the International Osteoporosis Foundation’s (IOF) Capture the Fracture programme.

Taranaki FLS coordinator Jack Saju says the goals of the service are to “make the first fracture the last, identify osteoporosis and to reduce falls and fractures within the region”.

Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle and FLS delivers care for fragility fracture patients to reduce the risk of reoccurrence, reviewing over 50 patients each month.

The Taranaki FLS was created in June 2022 through an ACC initiative with the aim to reduce fractures and acts as a bridge between acute hospital care and GP practices, to reduce barriers to managing osteoporosis. In Taranaki there are 650 people identified as having a fragility fracture.

Since opening, 420 people have received treatment recommendations following FLS investigation and over 45% have begun osteoporosis specific treatment within 16 weeks of identification. The FLS create care plans and provide treatment recommendations to suit individual needs.

“We are excited to have been recognised with a Silver Rating on the IOF Map of Best Practice,” says Jack. “This recognition is extremely rewarding and provides a sense of meaningful contribution to our community. It’s a great motivator for our team to help improve the quality of life for patients by providing comprehensive fracture care.”

People can prevent and reduce the risks of fractures through the tailored programmes and treatment that the FLS provides, which includes bone density scans and identifying how underlying health conditions can impact patients’ bones.

“This work is extremely rewarding as it contributes to better outcomes and quality of life for patients,” explains Jack.

Delia, a recent FLS patient describes how she was initially surprised to hear from FLS, as she wasn’t aware of the service’s presence and is amazed at how proactive the team are.

“When I was told what the service was about, I thought it was wonderful as I was going to get a bone density scan after fracturing my wrist – for free,” says Delia.

The service has made a real difference to Delia’s health, and she feels so glad she had the scan.

“Now I have an early osteoporosis diagnosis and can now get treatment, so I don’t end up like my grandmother. I think the Fracture Liaison Service is awesome, and I’m not surprised at all that they have received a Silver Star from the Osteoporosis Foundation – well done!”

Fragility fractures are a reasonably common issue, it’s estimated that worldwide a fragility fracture occurs every three seconds. Someone who has already suffered a fragility fracture almost doubles their risk of further fractures. This is something Taranaki FLS hopes to change, as FLS models are proven to be the most cost-effective way of preventing secondary fractures.

Public education around secondary fracture prevention is vital in reducing the number of fragility fractures in Taranaki. The FLS team strongly recommend that people take care of their nutrition and stay active to reduce falls and fractures, by participating in activities like the community strength and balance classes, which Sport Taranaki organises.

There is a useful ACC app named Nymbl which is free to all Kiwis aged over 50. This app helps you practice balance from your own home and is available for smartphones.

If you are over 50 and have sustained a fragility fracture (a fall from a standing height or less and sustaining a fracture), please visit knowyourbones.org.nz or talk to your GP for further assessment and treatment.

Pictured: The FLS Taranaki Team consists of Dr Jennifer James (Clinical Lead), Jack Saju (FLS Coordinator), and Amy Marsh (Admin).


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