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Falls and fragility fractures: the role of the community nurse

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Falls leading to fractures can hazardous Falls leading to fractures can be an indication of serious illness developing

Every year over 300 000 people in England and Wales over the age of 50 sustain a fragility fracture.1 This figure includes 66 668 hip fractures.2 Fragility fractures are ‘fractures that occur after low trauma (equivalent to a fall from standing height or less), excluding skull, face, fingers and toes’.3

Fragility factures can be life changing. Around 30% of people who sustain a fragility fracture will not survive a year.1 Sustaining a fragility fracture doubles the risk of having another fracture and that fracture is most likely to occur within two years.4 Around 50% of people require a walking aid for the first time following a fracture. Around 20% of people who sustain a fragility fracture will move to a care home.5

Behind every statistic there are real people. This article will use a case history to illustrate what care, support and treatment community nurses can provide to reduce the risk of further falls and fractures and to enable an individual to recover following a fragility fracture.

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