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Broken bones to be used to diagnose dementia

Broken bones to be used to diagnose dementia
10th December 2012

A Southampton hospital is launching a new initiative that aims to use broken bones to help diagnose patients with dementia.

Southampton General Hospital will ensure that all patients over the age of 70 who are admitted with broken bones as the result of falls undergo a mental and physical assessment in an effort to discover if the injury is the result of a deeper-lying issue.

Dr Mark Baxter, co-leader of the initiative, explained that the hospital believes that by assessing injuries such as a broken wrist, they can minimise the number of patients who return with further, more serious fall injuries.

He said: “About 40 per cent of people who have a hip fracture have got dementia or some form of cognitive dysfunction and, of them, a significant proportion are not diagnosed.”

Currently, there are around 75,000 cases of hip fracture annually across the UK and the average age of those diagnosed with the injury is 80 years old.

After assessment, those deemed by the hospital to be at risk of falling will be referred to a specialist clinic.

Find out about dementia care and support services at Barchester care homes.