The Science: It makes sense to encourage patients to visit an osteoporosis clinic

Outpatient care for osteoporosis patients after a fracture is well organized in the Netherlands, but half of the patients do not use it. Healthcare providers seem to play an important role in this, and they can motivate patients to visit an osteoporosis clinic anyway. This is the conclusion of nursing specialist Peter van den Berg in his thesis.

Dutch osteoporosis clinics run by specialist nurses do well with tasks such as identifying and inviting patients over the age of 50 with a recent fracture, communicating with a general practitioner and applying follow-up steps and guidelines.

Van den Berg investigated what determined whether patients from the target group visited the outpatient clinic. Patients who do not visit the clinic (among other things) are predominantly men, often live alone, often have a low educational level and are often unaware that they have an increased risk of follow-up fractures.

Many patients visited the clinic because of their healthcare provider Motivate them to do so

Often patients who visited the clinic did so because their caregiver had motivated them to do so. So it makes sense to encourage a patient over the age of 50 to visit an osteoporosis clinic after a fracture.

Van den Berg also investigated whether caregivers who had supportive phone calls could improve adherence to medication in postmenopausal women with a recent fracture. However, the phone calls turned out to have no effect: with or without the phone calls, about 4 in 5 women were committed to treatment.

Peter van den Berg. Fracture communication service: improving care from a nurse practitioner perspective. PhD thesis, Maastricht University, December 2020.

Francine Arts

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