J Prim Health Care. 2011 Jun 1;3(2):150-2.
Lawless S, White P, Murdoch P, Leitch S.
Amity Health Centre, 343 Highgate, Roslyn, Dunedin 9010, New Zealand. susie at amityhc.co.nz.
BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT: A majority of adults have sub-optimal vitamin D levels in the winter in southern New Zealand. This is associated with an increased risk of falls and fragility fractures in the elderly, with long-term adverse outcomes likely. Vitamin D supplementation decreases the risks of both falls and fractures.
ASSESSMENT OF PROBLEM: An intervention was undertaken by a small urban general practice to increase the number of elderly patients receiving vitamin D supplementation by linking vitamin D prescription to the annual flu vaccination campaign.
RESULTS: Uptake of the supplementation was high and costs to the practice low. Thirty-eight patients were identified for whom long-term supplementation with vitamin D was indicated.
STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVEMENT: The study could have been strengthened by incorporating a more formal method of evaluating uptake. LESSONS: Encouraging patients to take supplements as a population-based strategy is a realistic intervention, and linking it to the flu vaccination campaign is both seasonally appropriate and efficient.
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