Interdisciplinary standardized protocols for the care of patients with hip fractures have been shown to improve outcomes. A hip fracture protocol was implemented at our institution to standardize care, focusing on emergency care, pre-operative medical management, operative timing, and geriatrics co-management. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of this protocol.
We conducted a retrospective review of adult patients admitted to a single tertiary care institution who underwent operative management of a hip fracture between July 2012 and March 2020. Comparison of patient characteristics, hospitalization characteristics, and outcomes were performed between patients admitted before and after protocol implementation in 2017.
A total of 517 patients treated for hip fracture were identified: 313 before and 204 after protocol implementation. Average age, average Charlson Comorbidity Index, percent female gender, and distribution of hip fracture diagnosis did not vary significantly between groups. There was a significant reduction in time from admission to surgical management, from 37.0 ± 47.7 to 28.5 ± 27.1 h (p = 0.0016), and in the length of hospital stay, from 6.3 ± 6.5 to 5.4 ± 4.0 days (p = 0.0013). The percentage of patients whose surgeries were performed under spinal anesthesia increased from 12.5 to 26.5% (p = 0.016). There was no difference in 90-day readmission rate or mortality at 30 days, 90 days, or 1 year between groups.
With the implementation of an interdisciplinary hip fracture protocol, we observed significant and sustained reductions in time to surgery and hospital length of stay, important metrics in hip fracture management, without increased readmission or mortality. This has implications to minimize health care costs and improve outcomes for our aging population.
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