Hip fracture care 'inconsistent'
Published on 23 February 2012 11:00 AM
A Government report has found best practice guidance about caring for patients with hip fractures is only being followed in a small number of areas.
The study, undertaken by Age UK and the National Osteoporosis Society, called for closer working between doctors, hospitals and councils and more emphasis on preventing falls in the first place.
It said the lack of consistency in treatment 'is leaving a majority of older people who suffer falls and fractures at an unnecessary and unacceptable risk of sustaining further injuries and broken bones'.
An audit last year identified 'unacceptable variation in the quality of falls and fracture services' in England, and that such a lack of support 'would be intolerable in equally common and costly conditions such as heart disease or stroke'.
The Age UK report said the cost to the NHS and councils of treating hip fractures could rise to more than £6 billion by 2035, with 140,000 related hospital admissions, almost double the current figure.
Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General of Age UK commented: 'Falls and fractures are a serious threat to older people's health, wellbeing and independence, affecting one in three people over the age of 65. Falls cause pain, distress and loss of confidence, and can be life-threatening, yet they are preventable.
'It is extremely worrying then that in many areas of the country, people are not receiving all the care, treatment and support they need to help them back to recovery and prevent further falls from happening in the future.
'In addition to the pain and distress caused to the individual, there is an economic impact too: we have seen a 32% increase in the number of bed days attributed to falls from 1998/09 - 2008/2009. We know that by investing in specialist services that help older people to avoid falling and breaking bones we can save the health service money.
'The Government has committed to addressing this issue, and we hope by working together we will see an improvement to the current disparate services that exist, enabling access for older people who are at their most vulnerable to receive the help they need.'
Download and read the full report (PDF, 391kb)
Copyright Press Association 2012