By John Grochowski
With Texas Health Harris Hospital Fort Worth doing pioneering work in hip fractures and osteoporosis, Kindra McWilliam-Ross, MSN, APRN, ACNS-BC, Yvonne Allen, BSN, MS, RN, and Gina Alexander, BSN, RN, ONC, knew the work should be shared with fellow nurses.
At the national NICHE conference in April in Orlando, Fla., their poster presentation, “Creating a Best Practice Osteoporosis Protocol in Elderly Hip Fracture Patients,” was awarded first place in the patient safety category. Data were compiled from the hospital’s hip fracture program, certified since 2010 by The Joint Commission, and its osteoporosis program, which launched in 2011.
“We have a pretty large population of hip fractures, said McWilliam-Ross, an APRN in orthopedics. “You know that the ground level fall is pretty much a determination of osteoporosis. We really need to look at the osteoporosis aspect of the hip fracture and follow through throughout patients’ stay here along with communicating back with their primary care provider.
“Since we had a process in place of doing that we wanted to share our best practice and how we had done that in a poster.”
The three-month process of creating a poster wasn’t so much a matter of research as pulling it all together.
“It was retrospective data,” McWilliam-Ross said. “We collect [data] daily. It’s part of our program that we already look at. It was just going back and compiling it for the poster, then writing it and putting it all together.”
Allen, manager, trauma/orthopedic unit, said information on heel scan scores helped the poster stand out.“We are one of the few hospitals that do a heel scan on their geriatric patients,” Allen said. “Many hospitals have never really heard of this before.”
“Having the scan scores helps teach the patients about their condition,” Alexander, an ortho-neuro educator, said.
“As far as protocol, what the nurses have learned is the meaning behind heal scan scores, the T scores, and how to teach the patients their risk of osteoporosis and the importance of vitamin B in bone health.”
McWilliam-Ross said the data also showed nurses “how low all patients’ vitamin D levels were, which is consistent with national data, and how the T score with the ultrasound that we do correlates with the scan we do outpatient. It’s very surprising how they all indicated the patients are osteoporitic.
That’s true more in women than in men, which the national data support as well.
There’s a bottom line in taking results back to patients, according to Alexander. “We’re educating our patients better than we have in the past on osteoporosis.”