Are Nursing Home Residents With Dementia Appropriately Treated for Fracture Prevention?

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Clinicians struggle with whether to prescribe osteoporosis medications for fracture prevention for older nursing home (NH) residents with dementia, given the lack of evidence in this population. To better understand real-world clinical practice, we conducted a retrospective cohort study examining patterns of fracture prevention medication use for older NH residents with dementia and high fracture risk. Data sources included 2015-16 Medicare claims, Part D prescriptions, and Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessments. Among NH residents aged 65+ with dementia and prior fracture or high fracture risk based on the MDS FRAiL (Fracture Risk Assessment in Long-term care), we assessed medications for fracture prevention using prescription data from 1 year prior through 90 days after the first MDS assessment. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate factors associated with receiving treatment. Most of the sample (n = 72,639) was >80 years (78%), female (82%), and white (88%); 63% had moderate/severe dementia and 60% had an osteoporosis diagnosis. Only 11.6% received fracture prevention medications. In adjusted analyses, treated residents were more likely to be female, Hispanic or other non-black minority, <90 years old, and newly admitted to the NH. Other associated factors included osteoporosis diagnosis, walker or wheelchair use, bone disorders (eg, Paget disease), >5 medications, steroid or proton pump inhibitor use, and regions outside of the Northeast. Resident characteristics suggestive of comorbidity burden and worsening dementia were associated with reduced likelihood of treatment. Low use of fracture prevention medications for NH residents with dementia may reflect an attempt by prescribers reconcile medication use with changing goals of care, or inappropriate underuse in patients who still have high fracture risk. Additional research is needed to help clinicians better evaluate when to use these medications in this heterogeneous and vulnerable population.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Niznik, JD; Li, X; Gilliam, MA; Hanson, LC; Aspinall, SL; Colon-Emeric, C; Thorpe, CT

Published Date

  • January 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 28 - 35.e3

PubMed ID

  • 33321079

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8358966

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-9375

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jamda.2020.11.019


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States