Osteoporosis Research Project
The service users of Sussex Health Care are a varied and very vulnerable group of people. Whilst it is acknowledged that older adults are considered to be at risk of osteoporosis service users with complex physical and developmental disabilities ranging from epilepsy and birth asphyxia, Downs syndrome and Retts syndrome could also be at risk.
Aims and Objectives
A research project is being undertaken to:
- identify service users who have high risk of osteoporosis
- formulate a preventative care pathway
- ensure that those who do have osteoporosis are helped to stay free from fractures
Osteoporosis-related fractures can have serious implications for both the health and quality of life of those who suffer the condition. It is generally accepted that the risk factors can include gender, age, race, family history, frame size, excessive tobacco and alcohol use, lifetime exposure to oestrogen (early menopause), eating disorders, steroid medications, high levels of thyroid hormone. Also some medications such as SSRI’s, anticonvulsives, diuretics and antacids, being fed via PEG, sedentary lifestyles and inability to participate in weight bearing exercise. These last risk factors are very common within our younger service user group.
The single best predictor of bone strength is bone density. Bone density cannot be determined from plain Xrays but a specialised low-dose Xray technique called bone densitometry can be used to measure the amount of bone present in different parts of the skeleton. Bone density is related to risk of fracture and the lower the bone density the greater the risk of fractures due to osteoporosis.
- A ‘flowchart’ will be developed to calculate the risk factors of the younger service users.
- Ultrasound scan to measure the bone density and confirm risk
- Protective factors will be instituted : exercise (physiotherapy), dietary changes, access to sunlight, medication
- A comprehensive care plan will be created to monitor those at risk and ensure that those who do have osteoporosis are helped to stay free from fractures
It is anticipated that the project will be undertaken in a period of 9 months and evaluated by Professor Sir George Castledine of the University of Central England. The project could then be extended to encompass the other care homes for younger service users and also perhaps include care homes for older service users.
Dissemination of Results/Findings
The results of this project will be disseminated by writing a paper which will be offered to the nursing press.
For further information please contact Corrine Wallace, Head of Specialist Care Services and Future Development on 01403 217338 or by e-mail at email@example.com