The Decision to Accept Treatment for Osteoporosis Following Hip Fracture: Exploring the Woman’s Perspective Using a Stage-of-Change Model
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Despite the availability of medications that reduce fracture risk, most women who sustain a hip fracture are not evaluated or treated for osteoporosis. While a number of studies have attributed this to a lack of physician awareness, no studies have evaluated this problem from the patient's perspective. To explore the process a woman negotiates when deciding to accept pharmacologic treatment for osteoporosis after hip fracture, we used a stage-of-change model to characterize a consecutive series of 70 postmenopausal women (mean age 85 years) admitted to a tertiary care hospital with an acute low-impact hip fracture between May 2000 and August 2000. We measured stage-of-change using a modified form of the Weinstein Precaution Adoption Process Model (PAPM). The majority of patients (65%) were ineligible because of dementia or delirium; only 29 were eligible and 21 were enrolled. Most women (62%) were in stages 1 or 2 of the PAPM, indicating that they were unaware of osteoporosis or had never considered pharmacologic treatment for it. The only factors associated with a more advanced PAPM stage (indicating active consideration or currently taking treatment) were a previous bone mineral density (BMD) evaluation ( p = 0.007) and a diagnosis of osteoporosis ( p = 0.001). Although 48% of women had a previous fragility fracture and osteoporosis knowledge was poor overall (mean score 52% correct), neither was associated with a more advanced PAPM stage in this sample. In conclusion, women evaluated after hip fracture were not ready to accept pharmacologic treatment for osteoporosis; they were unaware that they had osteoporosis or had never considered treatment for it. For a woman to advance through the behavior change process, she must first be made aware of the problem that requires a change in behavior. Physicians play a crucial role in promoting awareness of the diagnosis of osteoporosis after fracture, which in turn is associated with patient advancement through the behavior change process and the decision to accept pharmacologic intervention. The large number of cognitively impaired patients in this population, however, will certainly make efforts to improve osteoporosis awareness, diagnosis and intervention more challenging.
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