Osteoporosis and Humber River Hospital

By Chiara Marcello

Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue. 80% of Canadians who break a bone due to osteoporosis never receive appropriate osteoporosis care, leaving them at substantial risk for further costly, debilitating and often life‐threatening fractures. Through targeted interventions, it is possible to reduce the risk of hip and other osteoporotic fractures.

To assist in managing osteoporosis, the fracture screening and prevention program (FSPP) is available at Humber River Hospital. The program has been developed through the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy (OOS) and Osteoporosis Canada. The FSPP is based in Humber’s fracture clinic and implemented by Arely Salib, the fracture prevention coordinator, who works collaboratively with Elizabeth Stanton, the regional integration lead for West Toronto, Peel and Northern Ontario. In honour of Osteoporosis Month, the two have shed insight into the disease and the FSPP.

What are some of your responsibilities in your role?
Arely: I am the fracture prevention coordinator implementing the fracture screening and prevention program (FSPP) in the fracture clinic at Humber. I identify patients aged 50 and over who have a fragility fracture, talk to them about bone health, provide them with resources and connect them with various supports to help them reduce their risk of another fracture. This can include arranging a Bone Mineral Density test (BMD), referral to a specialist, and fall prevention initiatives.

Arely Salib

Elizabeth: I am the regional integration lead for West Toronto, Peel and Northern Ontario and am responsible for working with a range of stakeholders on osteoporosis and fracture prevention initiatives.

Elizabeth Stanton

What is the Fracture Screening and Prevention Program?
The fracture screening prevention program (FSPP) is a secondary fracture prevention program working towards the reduction of fragility fractures, including hip fractures. The program is part of the Ontario Osteoporosis Strategy, which is funded by the Ministry of Health. There are currently 27 fracture prevention coordinators implementing the program in 34 high-volume fracture clinics throughout Ontario.

What benefits does the FSPP provide to patients?
The goal of the FSPP is to increase the rate of referral of fragility fracture patients for assessment and treatment of osteoporosis to assist in reducing the risk of further fractures. After a fragility fracture, there is an increased risk of further fractures. This program works with the patients and their healthcare providers, including the orthopaedic team and primary care, to reduce those risks.

What are general tips for those living with osteoporosis?
Ensure you continue to receive an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D each day, even if you are prescribed osteoporosis medication. Undergoing appropriate exercise is also important, along with utilizing fall prevention strategies. Bone-fit-trained exercise professionals can be found at bonefit.ca.

What are general tips for practicing proper bone health and decreasing the risk of developing osteoporosis?
Calcium and vitamin D are important in building and maintaining strong bones. People 50 and over should ensure they receive 1200mg of calcium each day, preferably through their diet, and 800 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D. It is also important to undergo appropriate physical activity and exercise. Remember to always ensure you consult your healthcare provider with any concerns regarding your bone health.

For more information about osteoporosis, visit https://osteoporosis.ca/.