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Hip fractures: Salisbury patients not always given 'best practice care'

Hip fractures: Salisbury patients not always given 'best practice care'

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 6:17am 28th January 2020. (Updated at 7:26am 28th January 2020)

4 minute read

Nearly a quarter of cases at the District Hospital didn't meet treatment guidelines during 2018.

317 people were treated for broken hips in Salisbury, according to figures from the Royal College of Physicians.

Of those, 78% of patients were given treatment that meets what's described as 'best practice criteria' by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) - meaning 22% weren't.

Hip Fractures
Hospitals are given guidelines on hoe to treat hip fractures and which operations to carry out

WHERE DID SALISBURY FALL SHORT?

86 patients (27%) at Salisbury District Hospital weren't able to go home within 120 days of their injury.

That's slightly below the national average of 31%.

Other 'best practice criteria' for hip fracture patients includes: 

  • To operate on patients within 24 hours of their arrival at hospital - 22% of SDH patients had to wait longer
  • To admit people to an orthopaedic ward within 4 hours - this happened for only 32% of patients at Salisbury
  • Only 74% of the operations given to patients was a procedure recommended by NICE
Hospital bed (pixabay)
Hip fractures can take a long time to recover from, meaning longer stays in hospital

FEWER DEATHS IN SALISBURY

There's better news when it comes to how many people die following a hip fracture.

17 patients (5.4%) who went to Salisbury District Hospital in 2018 for a broken hip passed away within 30 days.

The national average mortality rate for these kinds of injuries is 6.1%, according the Royal College of Physicians.

Christine Blanshard, Medical Director at Salisbury District Hospital has responded to the numbers:

"We are pleased that our team has a better than average mortality rate and are achieving all six of the national best practice standards for the majority of our hip fracture patients. This performance is due to their hard work and dedication and the high standard of care given to these patients by every team member. 

"We always seek to follow best practice and guidance and apologise where we have fallen short. We are continuously making improvements to our services to ensure all our patients receive the best care at all times. For example we have recently increased the availability of surgery during both the week and over the weekends.  This extra capacity allows the hospital to better deal with trauma cases such as hip fractures."

Salisbury District Hospital - SDH - Entrance A - Accident and Emergency - A&E - Maternity (Mike Draper) (1)
SDH has apologised for 'falling short' in care for broken hips for some patients

WHY CAN HIP FRACTURES BE SO DANGEROUS? 

They are the most common cause of admission to orthopeadic hospital wards, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Many of those patients are older people, who may have existing conditions like osteoarthritis or weak bones.

There's also a risk that people with a broken hip are more susceptible to things like infections, pneumonia, heart failure and strokes, due to the inability to get around.

Hip fractures account for 1% of the whole NHS budget - a total of £1 billion.

old person in wheelchair
Hip fractures can be complex to recover from, with some people needing long term care afterwards

PREVENTION MEASURES

National charity Age UK says hip fractures are a 'serious threat to older people's health', and so they're calling for falls prevention to become a priority for the health service.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, said:

"Falls (can affect) older people's health, wellbeing and independence, causing pain, distress and loss of confidence.

"However, despite having serious consequences, falls in later life are often dismissed as an inevitable part of growing older, when the reality is many of them are preventable.

"The quality of falls prevention services still varies a great deal from place to place. Preventing falls and hip fractures must be a priority for our health service."

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