‘Unacceptable variations in care’ for hip fracture patients

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy has reported that vulnerable patients recovering from hip fracture are facing unacceptable variations in care, sometimes waiting up to 80 days before seeing a physiotherapist at home after being discharged from hospital.

Hip fracture, which affects one in three women over 50, is the most common cause of injury related death in adults and is more prevalent than breast cancer. Moreover, his fractures cost the NHS and social care £1 billion per year.

A new audit has revealed that the average wait was 15 days, but some patients have to wait up to 80 days, with some vulnerable patients receiving less than one hour a week rehabilitation. This is despite NICE guidelines stating that, after surgery, hip fracture patients should be offered rehabilitation at least once a day.

Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: “Hip fracture patients who do not receive rehab soon after leaving hospital risk depression, deteriorating health, and losing their mobility. This can bring not only further costs and pressures for the system, but more importantly, devastating consequences for the individual and their families.

“High quality and intensive rehab in the first week after surgery gives hip fracture patients the best chance of recovery, and at least 20 minutes of therapy a day could free up 1000 hospital beds a year. We must invest in transforming acute and community services to ensure access to high quality rehab and continuous care for all those who need it.”

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