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Rheumatology team win national Best Practice Award

Last updated: 20/04/2020

The rheumatology team at the University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust has won a national award for its work tackling fractures in people with osteoporosis.

The team received a Best Practice Award from the British Society for Rheumatology in partnership with Versus Arthritis; these celebrate innovative projects that make a difference to the lives of rheumatology patients. The project was also specifically recognised for its Outstanding Patient Involvement.

The project involved developing a set of courses to support osteoporosis patients to avoid hip and spinal fractures, with practical exercises to help them manage their condition.

Dr Shane Clarke, who led the project, said: “We were seeing increasing numbers of osteoporosis patients ask us about thin bones, how to avoid them and what they should be doing to manage their condition. We devised a survey to ask patients what they needed and as a result we then set about developing some courses for patients to attend.

“The first half of the course helps patients to better understand their condition, what investigations happen and what medication is available. Then there’s a 12-station activity circuit including Tai-Chi, Pilates, strengthen and balance exercises, relaxation and a practical session on getting up off the floor after a fall.”

Over 200 patients have now been through the courses and hip fracture rates locally have reduced. The majority of patients are also continuing their exercises at home.

Dr Clarke said: “The main thing is that people who go through the course feel less frightened by fractures. What we’re trying to do is get people to go out and have a good quality of life, rather than sit at home worried about breaking bones. This award win is great for the team, but it’s a clear reflection on all the hard work put in by our Royal Osteoporosis Society volunteers too.”

Ali Rivett, Chief Executive of the British Society for Rheumatology, said: “This is a welldeserved win for the team and we found this initiative to help improve knowledge of osteoporosis very compelling. The outcomes include high levels of patient satisfaction and have helped the service respond and evolve to patient need.”