Dr Jonathan Bayly, Counting the heavy cost of falls

Dr Jonathan Bayly

Our experts in osteoporosis have carried out research in collaboration with Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust to assess the health of more than 3,700 elderly residents. The study found that 42% of 3,730 patients in elderly care had fallen in a 12 month period. Of this figure, 68% of people had suffered multiple falls, some having a fall every day. Yet just a quarter of residents were being given regular doses of calcium and vitamin D, a treatment that can improve muscle strength, bone strength and, as a result, help to prevent falls and hip fractures. Now GPs representing more than 1,200 of the patients in the study have agreed to consider changing practice in light of the research.

The study, which was led by Nikki Mayes of the Gloucestershire Care Services, also found that 37.9% of individuals required medical attention to treat injuries sustained from the fall. Dr Bayly, a Visiting Fellow here said, "It may be that much more could be done to help reduce the risk of falls and fractures. An outlay of funding now could help save the NHS millions further down the line in aftercare as a result of a fall."

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