Improved care for hip fracture patients in Australia and New Zealand

Today marks the release of The Australian and New Zealand Guideline for Hip Fracture Care, a watershed for the outcomes and quality of life for more than 20,000 Australians and New Zealanders who suffer a hip fracture each year.

The Guideline has been developed by the Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry Group, supported by the Bupa Health Foundation. It provides evidence-based, relevant, up-to-date information to help improve outcomes for hip fracture patients and assist their health care teams. Approval by the National Health and Medical Research Council attests to both the quality and importance of the Guideline..

Professor Jacqueline Close from the Falls and Injury Prevention Group at NeuRA, who led the production of the Guideline says “We have used the best evidence available to guide clinicians looking after some of the frailest members of our society.”
“The recommendations include management of pain, ensuring people have prompt access to surgery, and highlight the importance of rehabilitation after surgery. This will give people the best chance of regaining independence and interventions to minimise the chance of future falls and fractures”.

Importantly, this Guideline paves the way for the development of national clinical standards for hip fracture care in Australia. “It is hoped that the ANZ Guideline for Hip Fracture Care and subsequent standards present a real opportunity to ensure that every older person gets access to the best possible treatment”.

Similar work in the UK has seen the introduction of Guidelines and Standards for hip fracture care that have led to significant improvements in outcomes for older people in the UK and a reduction in the potential of death after such an event. This translates to healthier, more independent lives for many older Australians. Monitoring of progress over time is achieved through a national registry.

“The Australian and New Zealand Guideline builds on the excellent work already undertaken in the UK and provides us with an opportunity in Australia and New Zealand to improve the quality of care for hip fracture patients.”

Dr Paul Bates of the Bupa Health Foundation commended the work. “The Guideline is an important step forward to address one of the problems of ageing that often goes under the radar. Hip fractures and osteoporosis often contributes to poor quality of life and can now be managed more effectively and with clear guidance, ultimately helping to improve the lives of many older Australians and New Zealanders.

“And it’s not only the 21,000 people who suffer from hip fractures who could benefit each year, but their carers and families.”

Last year scientists and clinicians at NeuRA under the leadership of Prof Jacqueline Close identified a number of areas where variability in the management of hip fracture care across hospitals suggested that some things could be improved. This included how long a person has to wait for surgery and the chances of being alive at 30 days after the event. “There is room for improvement in how we deliver care for hip fracture patients. The Guideline and Standards will be there to highlight best practice whilst the Hip Fracture Registry will provide a mechanism for ongoing review of care and how well those Standards are being met. Using data to inform clinical practice and drive change is an incredibly important part of our work”
“The recommendations reflect the journey of a person with a hip fracture and take into account their perspective, as well as the perspective of their family and carers.”