The $1Billion Cost to the Nation If Hip Fracture Care Standards for Older Australians Are Not Improved

Friday, 15 September 2017: The Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry based at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), today released its 2017 report highlighting the current care provided to older Australians and New Zealanders who break their hip. In 2016 there were close to 22,000 hip fractures in Australia alone with an estimated cost of $908 million. 

Professor Jacqueline Close, Geriatrician and Co-Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry said injury is among the leading causes of hospitalisation in older Australians.

“With Australia’s ageing population, the number of hip fractures each year is estimated to rise to more than 30,000 in the next five years at a cost exceeding $1 billion,” Prof Close said.

The human cost from this injury is higher still. 5% will die in hospital; over 10% will be newly discharged to an aged care facility; more than 50% will still experience a mobility-related disability 12 months after injury and up to 25% will have died in the year after discharge.

The report highlights performance against a national clinical care standard which has the potential to alter the outcome for some of the frailest members of our society.

Commenting on the findings, Professor Ian Harris, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Co-Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry said the report continues to show variation in the way we deliver care to people with a hip fracture.

“Some of this variation between hospitals can markedly change the experience for the older person including how we manage their pain, timing of the surgery and the opportunity to start walking again after surgery,” Prof Harris said.

“Data is a powerful driver of change in the health system. The Hip Fracture Registry is run by clinicians for clinicians and provides hospitals with real time performance data, allowing them to see how they perform against other hospitals.”

Prof Close highlighted that huge opportunities remain to further improve care including the prevention of future falls and fractures.

“Strong evidence exists to support treatment of osteoporosis in this population yet there remains a care gap between what we are and should be doing,” Prof Close said.

Based at NeuRA, The Australian & New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry is a key driver in Australia and New Zealand to improving care for older people who have broken their hip.