The Importance of Preventing Hip Fractures in Senior Women

Jess Walter is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.

Hip fractures are tremendously dangerous for seniors, but they can be even more insidious and difficult to prevent in women. This type of injury can very quickly have deadly consequences. You or your loved one may require extensive surgery to repair the damage, and this may lead to a host of long term or even potentially deadly medical complications. These can include an increased chance of acquiring aspiration pneumonia, blood clots on the legs, increased difficulty walking after surgery, infections at the point of surgery, or acquiring a serious, antibiotic resistant hospital infection such as MRSA. Continue reading

How do geriatricians improve outcomes after hip fracture?

Jenny Neuburger is a Senior Research Analyst at the Nuffield Trust  (@NuffieldTrust) and a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She and her co-authors have recently published research in Age and Ageing journal.

hipWe have just published a paper showing that geriatrician involvement in hip fracture care can improve patient outcomes.  Patients treated on wards with higher numbers of geriatrician hours tended to have lower mortality within the 30 days after presentation.

We measured geriatrician hours worked in orthopaedic departments using data collected via the National Hip Fracture Database annual survey each year from 2010 to 2013 for English hospitals.  Over this period, geriatrician hours increased from 1.5 to 4.0 hours per patient, reflecting investments made in response the financial incentives introduced under the Best Practice Tariff scheme. Continue reading

Hip fracture patients treated at orthogeriatric units received better quality of care and have a lower mortality.

aaPia Kjær Kristensen is a PhD student at Aarhus University Denmark. Her study on orthogeriatric care among hip fracture patients is published in Age and Ageing. She tweets at @pia_kjar 

Each year, 70-75,000 older people suffer a hip fracture that requires surgery in the UK. These hip fracture patients have a high risk of in-hospital mortality – a risk that clearly exceeds that of elective total hip replacement even accounting for differences in age, sex and comorbidity.

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Who is at greatest risk of dying after a broken hip?

Toby Smith is a Lecturer in Physiotherapy at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of East Anglia. His recent paper published in Age and Ageing has identified those people who are at greatest risk of dying following a broken hip. He tweets at @tobyosmith.shutterstock_158328935

Hip fracture is a major challenge for health services worldwide, and can be catastrophic for the individual who experiences it, in addition to their friends, family and carers. The consequences of a broken hip can range from physical disability through reduced mobility and loss of independence, to death. It has been estimated that approximately 25% to 40% of people following a hip fracture die within the first 12 months after their injury. This has been, in part, attributed to the fact that many of these people are older and have numerous medical conditions which place them at greater risk of death irrespective of their hip fracture.

Given this high risk and the large number of people who experience a hip fracture annually, our team aimed to identify characteristics which could predict who would be at greatest risk of dying following a hip fracture. Continue reading

NHFD national report shows care for hip fracture patients is improving

The National Hip Fracture Database is a joint venture of the British Geriatrics Society and the British Orthopaedic Association, and is designed to facilitate improvements in the quality and cost effectiveness of hip fracture care.  Follow it on Twitter @NatHipFracData NHFD2

Hip fracture is a common, serious and costly injury affecting mainly older people. It usually results from the combination of osteoporosis and a fall from standing height or less.  Care is complex and involves surgical, medical and rehabilitation interventions.

The National Hip Fracture Database 2013 report covers casemix, care and outcomes of 61,508 cases submitted between 1 April 2012 and 31 March 2013 by 180 hospitals in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Continue reading

Preventing falls in care homes: a question of balance

Ahead of her session at the BGS Falls and Postural Stability Conference in September, Kate Robertson writes with Alex Macdonald for the Geriatric Medicine blog about falls in care homes.

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Falls in older adults are common and the rate is three
times higher in people in care homes than in those living in their own homes. Falls in care homes are associated with considerable mortality and morbidity-hip fractures are significantly more prevalent than in community-dwelling older people, with rates in female care home residents estimated as high as 50.8 hip fractures per 1000 person-years.1

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Healthcare professionals come together for the BGS Falls Symposium

We finish our coverage of falls awareness week with a blog by Bryony Elliott, Geriatric Trainee in Nottingham. She tweets at @BryonyBryboss.

On Friday the 7th June interested health care professionals from around the country assembled at Nottingham City Hospital to learn about Falls. It was the Trent BGS Falls Symposium.

What struck me first was the diverse group of professionals in the lecture theatre. Looking at the delegate list there were consultants and trainees in geriatric medicine, physios, occupational therapists, nurse specialists, and from all across the country too. A variety of people with a lot of enthusiasm, which was great to behold. Continue reading

All down to numbers?

Dr Frances Healey is a registered nurse who is Associate Director for Patient Safety at NHS England and a Research Associate at Newcastle University. Follow her @FrancesHealey

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In our paper in Age and Ageing, Terry Haines and I present findings on the predictive values of the Morse Falls Risk Score, using data drawn from routine clinical practice in an acute hospital setting. However the data were cut, we found no clearly clinically useful predictive values, and the threshold score most commonly used to indicate a patient at risk of falls performed no better than tossing a coin. As we discuss, our findings are not new, but echo a series of studies carried out over the past two decades on all versions of falls risk scores. Concerns about falls risk scores relate not only to their predictive value, but for the potential for scoring to become a substitute for action, for scoring to override common sense, and for scoring to lead to a ‘one size fits all’ approach, despite the differing needs and wishes of individual patients. Continue reading

Commissioning hip fracture care – the NICE way

Dr Karthik Kayan is onsultant orthogeriatrician at Stockport NHS Foundation NHS Trust.

Prof Opinder Sahota is consultant in elderly medicine at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and Joint Chairman of the Falls and Bones SIG at the BGS.mobility

It is well known in geriatric medicine circles that hip fractures are the most common osteoporotic fracture affecting predominantly older people.

Currently, the incidence of hip fracture emergency admission is around 70,000 in the UK and will continue to increase as the population ages. The projected incidence for hip fracture in the UK is 101,000 by 2020. The crippling effects of hip fracture are significant for the patient as independence is affected and a number of them die within a year of sustaining a fracture. The cost of managing osteoporotic fractures is £1.7 billion and over 90 per cent of this is due to health and social care costs associated with the fracture. Continue reading

National Hip Fracture Database Reports on Developments in Acute and Post-Acute Care

Dr Helen Wilson, is co chair of the National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD), a joint endeavour of the BGS and the British Orthopaedic Association to improve the care of patients with fragility fractures.

Hip fracture, which usually results from the combination of a fall and pre existing osteoporosis, is the most common serious injury of older people, with around 76,000 cases occurring per year across the UK. Many patients are already frail. Mortality is high, residual disability common, and care costly. Although there is good evidence on best practice in surgical, medical and rehabilitation care following hip fracture, such care and its outcomes – in terms of return home and also of mortality – continue to vary.

The NHFD has published a supplement to its 2012 National Report which demonstrates continuing improvements in acute care but  highlights variations in post-acute care and overall length of NHS stay. Continue reading