Therapist's practice patterns for subsequent fall/osteoporotic fracture prevention for patients with a distal radius fracture
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STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey. INTRODUCTION: Multifactorial risk factor screening and treatment is needed for subsequent falls/osteoporotic fractures prevention (SFOFP), given the elevated risk among patients with distal radius fracture (DRF). PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: The primary objective was to describe hand therapists' knowledge and clinical practice patterns for assessment, treatment, referral, and education with respect to SFOFP for patients with DRF older than 45 years. Secondary objective was to explore therapist's preferences in content and delivery of knowledge translation tools that would support implementation of SFOFP. METHODS: A cross-sectional multinational (Canada, the United States, and India) survey was conducted among 272 therapists from August to October 2014. Completed surveys were analyzed descriptively. RESULTS: Surveys were completed by 157 therapists. Most respondents were from the United States (59%), certified hand therapists (54%), and females (87%). Although 65%-90% believed that they had knowledge about SFOFP assessment, treatment, and referral options, 55% did not include it in their routine practice for patients with DRF. Most assessed medication history (82%) and never used a Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (90%) or lower extremity muscle strength testing (54%) to identify those at risk of secondary fractures. With respect to treatment, approximately 33% always used upper extremity muscle strengthening exercises. Most reported rarely (sometimes to never) using balance (79%), lower extremity muscle strengthening (85%), bone strengthening (54%), or community-based physical activity (72%) programs. Similarly, when surveyed about patient education, therapists rarely (sometimes to never) advised patients about web-based resources (94%), regular vision testing (92%), diet for good bone health (87%), bone density evaluation (86%), footwear correction (73%), and hazard identification (67%). Most hand therapists were interested to receive more information on SFOFP for patients with DRF. Nearly one-half preferred to have Web sites for patients, and two-fifth were in favor of pamphlets for patients. CONCLUSION: Current practice patterns reveal care gaps and limited implementation with respect to SFOFP for patients with DRF. Future research should focus on web-based educational/knowledge translation strategies to promote implementation of multifactorial fall risk screening and hand therapist's engagement in SFOFP for patients with DRF.
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