Older people living in residential aged care facilities (RACFs) are at considerably higher risk of suffering fractures than older people living in the community.
When admitted to RACFs, patients should be assessed for fracture risk to ensure early implementation of effective fracture prevention measures.
Routine or regular determination of calcium and phosphate serum levels in institutionalised older people is not indicated. Opinion is divided about the value of routine measurements of serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, parathyroid hormone and bone turnover markers.
The non-pharmacological approach to fracture prevention includes multifactorial programs of falls prevention and the use of hip protectors.
Vitamin D supplementation is recommended for all patients in RACFs. Dietary calcium intake should be optimised (1200–1500 mg per day is recommended) and supplementation offered to those with inadequate intake. The decision to prescribe calcium supplements should be guided by patients’ tolerance, whether or not they have a history of kidney stones, and emerging data about its cardiovascular safety.
Bisphosphonates are the first-choice pharmacological agents for fracture prevention in older persons at high risk. Intravenous administration is as efficient as oral and has the significant advantage of better adherence.
Use of strontium ranelate has not been tested on people in RACFs, but evidence in the “old-old” (those aged 75 years and older) suggests it could be a therapeutic option for fracture prevention in this setting.
In general, teriparatide should not be considered as a first-line treatment for fracture prevention, particularly for people in RACFs.
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