Dept. of Health works to improve care for fall-related fractures

broken legThe New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) and Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center (GCRMC) in Alamogordo recently announced a new partnership to improve the quality of care for adults who experience a bone fracture due to a fall. In this joint project, NMDOH will track and monitor the progress of fracture patients in the hospital’s Fracture Liaison Service program to assure adequate follow-up so that older adult fracture patients are less likely to fall in the future.

“Tracking the outcomes for fracture patients will help us better understand how communities and health systems can work together to help older New Mexicans improve bone health, decrease fall risk factors, and prevent additional, fall-related injury,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “We are pleased for this opportunity to work with Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center to improve future health outcomes across the state.”

The Fracture Liaison Service (FLS) program at GCRMC follows an innovative, best practices model for the coordination of patient treatment and care for osteoporotic patients. The program offers comprehensive follow-up care for fracture patients to prevent additional, and potentially more serious injury. In this model, providers screen fracture patients for osteoporosis and other health conditions that can contribute to fall risk.

In addition to assuring follow-up for older adult fracture patients at Gerald Champion, NMDOH will be working in the Alamogordo area to establish community fall prevention programming through local senior centers in 2017. The state recently received grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide comprehensive fall prevention training for health care providers and community health workers to assess older adults for fall risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional falls are the leading cause of death for people age 65 and older in the United States. Adults aged 65 and older make up 14% of New Mexico’s population.

For more information about local fall prevention training programs, contact Karen Dugas with the NMDOH Office of Injury Prevention at (505) 827-5146.

For more information about the Fracture Liaison Service program contact Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center at (575) 434-2116.