New Zealand supports new Australian standard to improve hip fracture care

13 Sep 2016 | Reducing Harm from Falls

A new Australian clinical care standard is being supported by the Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission).

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care launched the Hip Fracture Care Clinical Care Standard today. The standard recommends patients with a broken hip receive surgery within 48 hours of admission to hospital and begin moving around a day after surgery.

'This clinical care standard, supported with data collected through the Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry, will mean clinicians can monitor the quality of hip fracture care they provide,' says Commission Chief Executive Dr Janice Wilson.

'That will mean a more accurate benchmark of hip fracture care across both countries.'

In New Zealand, an estimated 3600 people over the age of 50 are hospitalised each year with a hip fracture, often after falls. Hip fractures can be potentially devastating injuries and can cause severe pain, loss of independence, disability and death. The total direct cost in New Zealand of hip fracture in people aged 50 and over has been estimated at $145 million in 2013, most of which is hospital care.

The new clinical care standard acknowledges the 48-hour timeframe may not be feasible for all hospitals, and may require them to build networks with other facilities to help patients receive timely care.

The standard states patients should be offered a falls and bone health assessment and a tailored care plan to reduce the risk of another fracture. The inaugural Australia and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry report found there was currently a low overall rate of patients discharged on bone protection medication.

In New Zealand, the Commission’s Atlas of Healthcare Variation falls domain monitors several key indicators that align well with the clinical care standard, including people receiving a community-dispensed bisphosphonate (bone protection medication), and the time that hip fracture patients wait for surgery.

Experience in the United Kingdom, where a similar hip fracture standard was introduced in 2007, showed a significant reduction in 30-day mortality rates, and an increase in early surgery rates from 54.5percent to 71.3 percent, within four years.

Download the Hip Fracture Care Clinical Care Standard below.

Read the media release from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

Last updated 14/09/2016