Hip hip hooray – Research into booming hip fracture problem awarded

An Australian research team examining the care of hip fractures in older people has just secured highly competitive funding to investigate this growing problem.

There are approximately 17,000 new hip fractures in Australia each year, equating to a new case every 30 minutes.

Hip fractures mostly occur after falls and can be devastating because the person suffers a loss of independence, may have to enter an aged care facility, and can even die as a result of the event.

“Hip fracture is the most serious and costly fall-related injury suffered by older people. Sadly, hip fractures are usually the result of a thirty year history of decreasing bone strength and increasing falls risk”, says project leader and award recipient Associate Professor Jacqueline Close of Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA).

The research project will develop national guidelines and standards of care for hip fracture and develop a national audit program of hip fracture care. Older people who have suffered a hip fracture will also be consulted.

The project has the potential to generate cost savings for the Australian health care system. It is expected that the financial benefits from this research will materialise within 1–2 years.

“However, the ultimate goal of our work is to use data to make changes and improve the lives of older people – reduce mortality, reduce rates of institutionalisation and maximise their independence”, says Close.

Close’s project was awarded nearly AUD 500,000 and was one of several high-impact studies granted funding by the Bupa Health Foundation.