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Bone Health Assessments by Student Pharmacists During Interprofessional Education

Joseph P Fava 1Mary Whitney 2Jennifer Mendez 3Mary Beth O’Connell 4

Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2020 Sep;12(9):1101-1109. doi: 10.1016/j.cptl.2020.04.019. .


Introduction: Bone-healthy lifestyle is a cornerstone of osteoporosis prevention and treatment. Student pharmacists are ideally suited to perform bone health assessments during interprofessional education (IPE) programs. In this article, we describe the outcomes of bone health assessments performed by second-year student pharmacists (P2s) as part of a novel IPE activity.

Methods: Bone health assessments provided by P2s to older adults during an interprofessional team home visit were evaluated. Three health profession students (pharmacy, medicine, physician assistant, nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or social work) worked as collaborative teams, with each student completing discipline-specific patient assessments. Data collected included bone density scan status, Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX) score, and calcium and vitamin D intakes. P2s’ recommendations for bone density testing and adjustments to dietary intakes based on patient-specific factors were also evaluated.

Results: All P2s (n = 98) completed a bone health assessment with their older adult. Almost all older adults (85.6%) met risk criteria for bone density scanning. In addition, 51.5% and 27.8% reported taking less than their age and sex-specific recommended dietary allowance of calcium and vitamin D, respectively. P2s recommended changes in calcium and vitamin D dietary intake, supplement use, or both for 64.3% of the older adults.

Conclusions: In a novel IPE home-visit program, P2s were successfully utilized to assess bone health and provide recommendations for bone density scanning and calcium and vitamin D intakes to volunteer older adult patients.