Scientific basis for why TeleFFIT is needed
Facts About Osteoporosis, Falls and Fractures
In 2022 in Australia, it is estimated that someone will experience an osteoporotic fracture every 2.9 minutes. Falls are the leading cause of fractures and injury-related hospitalization in Australia, with one-third of people aged over 65 years falling every year.
Did you know that
- 20-24% of people will die in the first year after a hip fracture
- 40% will be unable to walk independently
- 50% of people with one osteoporotic fracture will have another
- 60% will require assistance a year later
Rethinking Current Models of Care
Currently most models of healthcare for people with or at risk of osteoporosis focus on pharmaceuticals (drugs), which are effective at preventing or slowing bone loss and reducing the risk of fracture.
The challenge and current gap in osteoporosis management is that these drugs have no effect on improving muscle strength, balance or mobility, all of which are critical to reduce the risk of falls and fractures and maintain independence into later life.
Fracture Proof Your Future
Current osteoporosis guidelines recommend regular exercise and adequate calcium and vitamin D, along with maintaining a healthy lifestyle (e.g. limiting alcohol intake, smoking cessation) to promote strong bones and muscles and to optimise physical function as we age. However, many programs are not personalised to meet individuals’ needs, preferences, and financial and social resources.
For broader reach and engagement, we need to consider alternative models of healthcare delivery that address common barriers to exercise participation for people with or at risk of osteoporosis, falls or who are concerned about their mobility.
TeleFFIT – A personal health coach in your pocket
Digital technologies (iPad/tablets/smartphones) now offer an alternative, inexpensive, highly accessible and personalised means to deliver best practice, evidence-based programs and resources to people anywhere and at any time.
The TeleFFIT program represents a new model of healthcare delivery that provides an evidence-based home exercise and lifestyle self management program delivered by qualified health professionals in the comfort of your own home.
Telehealth for Falls and Fracture Prevention Implementation Trial (TeleFFIT)
TeleFFIT is a world-first research initiative designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of a personalised, telehealth-based exercise and lifestyle management program for improving musculoskeletal health and function in older adults who have osteoporosis, are at increased risk of falls or fracture or who are concerned about their mobility.
TeleFFIT has been informed by over 20 years of research led by Professor Robin Daly and his team within the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition at Deakin University and is a collaborative project with the University of Melbourne, Monash University and the University of Waterloo (Canada).
Aims of the TeleFFIT Study
The primary aim of the TeleFFIT study is to evaluate whether a personalised, multifaceted lifestyle-based program incorporating a home exercise program delivered and monitored remotely by qualified exercise professionals through a smart device along with nutrition and lifestyle support can reduce the rate of falls and improve bone mineral density (BMD) to reduce fracture risk in older adults with osteoporosis and/or those at increased risk of falls and fracture residing in the community.
Additional aims of the study are:
- To assess whether TeleFFIT is a cost-effective method when delivered in a real-life setting.
- To identify barriers and facilitators to implementing the TeleFFIT program in the community.
- To evaluate the effects of the TeleFFIT program on measures of body composition, physical function, posture, quality of life and independence.
The TeleFFIT study is funded by a grant from the Medical Research Future Fund – Preventive and Public Health Research Initiative (2020/MRF1200913)