Improving inpatient care with the introduction of a hip fracture pathway.
AIMS To evaluate the effect of shared care between geriatricians and orthopaedic surgeons as a model of care for older patients with hip fractures. METHODS All patients over the age of 65 years are under the shared care of an orthopaedic surgeon and geriatrician (the Ortho-Medicine Service) when they are admitted to the Orthopaedic Service, Christchurch Hospital, New Zealand. This retrospective case records audit includes all patients over the age of 65 years with hip fracture admitted to this service over a 6-month period from December 2002 to June 2003. RESULTS There were 150 patients. The median age was 83 years (range 66-99 years). Median total length of stay was 23 days. Median time delay until theatre was 43.5 hours. Inpatient mortality was 0.7%. Of 97 patients admitted from home, 86(88.6%) returned home, 6 (6.2%) went to rest home care, and 5 (5.2 %) went to hospital level care. Of 43 patients admitted from rest home care, 40 (93%) returned to rest home care, and 3 (7.0 %) were discharged to hospital level care. Three patients admitted from rest home dementia care and six patients admitted from hospital level care were discharged back to their pre-morbid place of domicile. At discharge, 86.8% of patients were on Vitamin D supplementation and over 80% were on calcium. Only 10.6% were discharged on bisphosphonates. CONCLUSIONS Shared care between geriatricians and orthopaedic surgeons for older people with hip fractures is associated with a low in-patient mortality, with the majority returning to their pre-morbid place of domicile. Length of stay has increased. Most patients are discharged on treatment for osteoporosis.