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Monongahela Valley Hospital Introduces Osteoporotic Fracture Program

(November 13, 2014 - Carroll Township, Pa.)

Did you know that if you are female, age 50 and older, suffered a previous fracture, have a parent who had a hip fracture, smoke, have a Vitamin D deficiency, or have three or more drinks per day, you are at a higher risk of experiencing an osteoporotic fracture?

Osteoporotic fractures are caused by falls and bumps that wouldn't hurt a person with healthy bones but can cause damage to those who have osteoporosis or decreased bone density. Doctors call these injuries low trauma or fragility fractures. A person with osteoporosis who falls from standing height and breaks a bone, for example, will need treatment for this type of injury. Hips, wrists, shoulders and the spine are the parts of the body which are at the greatest risk for fragility fractures.

Monongahela Valley Hospital is taking the lead in helping people who experience a fracture related to osteoporosis return to their normal activities as soon as possible and prevent future fractures by introducing an Osteoporotic Fracture Program. The new program, which will be implemented in January 2015, involves a multidisciplinary team that includes Emergency Department physicians, nurses and staff along with orthopedic surgeons, the Anesthesia Department, primary care physicians, hospitalists, Radiology and the Lab.

"Our ultimate goal is to help the person through the healing process and to help him or her reach the next level of care as soon as possible," said Mary Lou Murt, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Monongahela Valley Hospital. "While the Program includes clinical interventions, it also is designed to empower the person who suffers a fracture to make healthier lifestyle choices which leads to more positive outcomes."

As part of the new program, MVH has preoperative and postoperative protocols in place that are designed to coordinate and improve a patient's care for osteoporotic fractures from the fall or incident that triggered the fracture through the release to home care. Key program features include:

  • Fast tracking the patient from the Emergency Department to the Operating Room within 24 hours
  • A Care Coordinator who manages the patient's care needs from the Emergency Department through his or her discharge to a skilled nursing facility or home
  • Co-management by the patient's primary care physician (PCP), hospitalists and orthopedic team
  • Early initiation of discharge planning
  • A standard of care followed for all patients which includes anesthesia consultations, laboratory blood tests and vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Patient and caregiver education
  • Care coordination including palliative, rehabilitative and home health
  • After discharge, a follow-up letter is sent to the patient outlining steps to improve his or her bone health and to prevent future fractures
  • A follow-up letter is sent to the patient's PCP that includes information about the fracture and the treatment provided at MVH for the PCP's ongoing treatment of the patient's bone health
  • Following discharge to home, patients are prescribed DEXA scans, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or bone densitometry, to measure bone density and the presence of osteoporosis to help prevent future fractures

According to Mrs. Murt, osteoporosis in women ages 45 and older results in more hospital days nationwide than heart attacks, diabetes and breast cancer.

"Our goal is to help the members of our community stay healthy," she said. "If we can help identify people with osteoporosis, we can help them prevent future osteoporotic fractures."


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