Hip Fracture Care is Top Notch

The orthopaedic team at NHS Forth Valley has gained the accolade of the most improved unit in Scotland for treating patients with hip fractures. The award was presented at the national hip fracture meeting in Glasgow following a national audit.

A report entitled ‘Hip Fracture Care Pathway 2019’ revealed that Forth Valley Royal Hospital was the sixth busiest in the country for this type of operation with only the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, (Glasgow), Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Ninewells Hospital and Glasgow Royal Infirmary admitting more patients that Forth Valley Royal Hospital.

Scottish hospitals are measured against 11 agreed standards using data collected by local audit teams. They are ranked and encouraged to learn from each other. NHS Forth Valley scored particularly well on returning patients to their homes at 30 days, bone health assessments to minimise subsequent fractures, getting people mobile again and assessing inpatients. The mortality rate at 30 days from when the incident occurred has also halved over the past seven years from 12% to 6%.

NHS Forth Valley Consultant Anaesthetist and Clinical Lead for Theatres, Dr Ewan Jack, said: “Hip fracture is one of the most common reasons for emergency admission to hospital and often occurs in elderly, less able people. The numbers of patients suffering from this has been increasing from about 350 patients per year just four years ago to more than 460 during 2018. Patients often spend a long time in hospital and require a lot of different support from a wide range of staff. These include Emergency Department staff, orthopaedic surgeons and nurses, anaesthetists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, ortho-geriatricians, theatre staff and specialist nurses.”

Dr Jack added: “Patients who break their hips within Forth Valley can be reassured they are getting some of the best care in the UK and over the next 12 months we will be focusing on further improving access to theatres for early surgical repair.”

In addition to the award for the most improved unit, Kirstie Stenhouse, fracture liaison specialist for NHS Forth Valley also won the individual prize for the best project at the national meeting. This centred on the use of rehabilitation assistants who have been employed to increase mobility and independence in patients who have experienced a hip fracture. Their efforts have allowed patients to be discharged more quickly without any increase in re-admission rates, and freed up beds which can often be occupied for a considerable time in cases where patients have more complex care needs.