Fast-track hip surgery benefits patients

A nurse stands beside a female patient in a hospital bed
Recent hip patient Dawn Ankerson with her nurse Jackie at Fremantle Hospital.
September 14, 2018

Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) has achieved one of the quickest treatment times and shortest length of stay for elderly patients with hip fractures in Australia.

The 2018 annual report of the Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR) shows the average time from a patient presenting with a hip fracture at the FSH Emergency Department to receiving surgery is less than 24 hours, well under the clinically recommended time of 48 hours.

The average length of hospital stay for hip fracture patients is five days.

FSH Surgical Specialities Medical Director and Geriatrician, Dr Hannah Seymour said a ‘rapid response’ to hip fractures adopted by FSH had significantly improved outcomes for patients.

“In the past, we used to take a more cautious approach with these patients because we tended to wait to control their other medical problems first,” Dr Seymour said.

“Now we know that the quicker we treat the hip fracture, the better it is for these patients as early surgery reduces morbidity, speeds up recovery and reduces the length of stay in hospital.”

Consultant Anaesthetist Dr Matt Harper said FSH took a multidisciplinary approach to hip fractures with shared care by the geriatrics and orthopaedics teams, and including anaesthetics, nursing and allied health.

“Everyone in the team works to an agreed guideline, so we are all working towards the same goals and timeframes for treatment and care,” Dr Harper said.

Hip fracture, usually caused by falling over, is a common injury in people over 60, and particularly women who account for 69 per cent of hip fractures reported to the registry.

Dawn Ankerson was a recent patient at FSH after a fall at Rottnest Island while on a holidays from South Australia.

The 79-year-old was operated on at FSH in 24 hours and discharged within the recommended five days to Fremantle Hospital until she is well enough to travel home. Dawn was shocked and appreciative at how quickly she was treated.

“It was a very unpleasant, painful time for me, I couldn’t be more grateful for how quickly I was operated on – it was go, go, go,” Dawn said.

“Everyone who looked after me was so nurturing and showed tons of kindness. I couldn’t have had better care.”

In 2017, FSH treated 539 hip fracture cases, the highest number of any other hospital included in the report. The average age of hip fracture patients is 84.

“We have worked really hard to ensure we are doing the very best for these patients, and that hard work is paying off in better outcomes for our patients,” Dr Harper said.

Visit ANZHFR (external site) for a full copy of the report.

Follow South Metropolitan Health Service on Facebook (external site) and keep up to date with all the latest news at Fiona Stanley Hospital.