AN INTEGRATED APPROACH TO ORTHOGERIATRICS: THE CARE PROJECT

In the Western world, fragility fractures (especially femoral ones) are one of the most pressing health issues of our time. As is well known, this problem particularly affects elderly people suffering from osteoporosis (75% of patients are over 70). In fact, osteoporosis, together with osteoarthritis, is the most widespread musculoskeletal condition in old age.

Elderly patients today are very different from some years ago; for many people over 70 years of age, especially in Northern Italy and Milan, skeletal health is a top priority, due to the many commitments (work, family and personal life) that fill their days. It is unacceptable that, in the 21st century, patients must face disability – temporary or permanent – because of fragility fractures or chronic pain and impaired mobility caused by osteoarthritis; indeed, these are precisely the reasons why the demand for orthopedic visits is increasing in elderly patients, especially in Milan and its surrounding areas.

However, elderly patients with musculoskeletal disorders require different attentions than adults, due to their bone fragility as well as a progressive degeneration of functions: it is therefore essential that they turn to a specialist with extensive clinical experience in elderly orthopedic diseases, namely, an Orthogeriatric doctor. Only an orthopedic specialist expert in Orthogeriatrics can carry out an adequate clinical and instrumental assessment, understood as the overall management of the elderly patient by means of an integrated, multi-disciplinary and multi-professional approach.

According to the principles of Orthogeriatrics, in fact, the diagnosis of orthopedic diseases or fractures must be followed up by a multi-dimensional evaluation aimed at guiding the subsequent treatment process.

This type of evaluation leads to a definition of the care potential of each individual, useful in the choice of any surgical procedure and in the planning process of the resulting rehabilitation pathway in a highly personalized way, so that patients may return to their pre-injury status, also in terms of social life. Thus, the traditional approach is replaced with a brand newmulti-disciplinaryintegrated approach (i.e. including orthopedic, geriatric, osteoporosis, physical, anesthesiological, and any other necessary assessment) coordinated by an Orthogeriatrician: the result is an actual care project, which is not solely limited to surgery or traditional orthopedic treatment.

Columbus Clinic Center provides orthogeriatric services for the completion of a multi-disciplinary orthogeriatric assessment and the development of an individual care project for the treatment of orthopedic diseases (osteoporosis, arthrosis, fragility fractures) in patients of advanced age who wish to maintain an active lifestyle.