Breaking the cycle of recurrent fracture: Scaling up a secondary fracture prevention program in Fraser Health to inform spread across British Columbia


  • Sonia Singh
    Fraser Health
  • Larry Funnell
    Patient partner
  • Tania Bubela
Executive sponsor:

  • Linda Dempster
    Fraser Health

Low-trauma fractures (which occur spontaneously or following minor trauma) are a frequent consequence of osteoporosis and can lead to significant disability, and even death, for patients. One low-trauma fracture often leads to a cycle of recurrent fracture. For example, approximately 50 percent of patients who suffer a hip fracture have a history of past fracture.

In BC, the annual cost for osteoporosis-related fractures has been estimated at $269 million for hospital care, Medical Services Plan and Pharmacare alone. Despite the availability of effective treatments that reduce future fracture risk by up to 50 percent, less than 20 percent of patients suffering low trauma fractures receive such treatments in their post-fracture care. This is the osteoporosis care gap.

The evidenced-based Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) model has been adopted worldwide as the most effective model for preventing recurrent osteoporosis-related fractures in a cost-effective manner. FLS involves a dedicated coordinator who captures the patient at the point of orthopedic care for the low-trauma fracture and integrates secondary fracture prevention into the overall fracture experience. FLS coordinators link fracture patients with community family physicians to ensure sustainability and follow-through of initiated interventions to prevent another fracture.

In 2012, the Secondary Fracture Prevention Research Team in Fraser Health (FH) brought together osteoporosis and fall prevention experts to develop an FLS model that fit the context of the BC health-care environment. In 2015, the model was implemented at Peace Arch Hospital (PAH).

A controlled before and after study demonstrated a three-fold increase in appropriate fracture prevention interventions taken up by low-trauma fracture patients in the FLS group compared with a control group. FLS is now a permanent program at PAH. In this project, the team will explore how the FLS model implemented at one hospital can be successfully adapted and scaled-up to other hospital sites within FH.

Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) 16 will inform the team’s implementation strategy and the RE-AIM 17 model will frame the process and outcome evaluation. The key outcome is to inform an FLS implementation strategy that can be used to spread the FLS model across BC, thereby improving patients’ quality of life after low-trauma fractures and decreasing health care costs related to recurrent fracture.