Bone health

Intensive physio reduces hip fracture burden

Thursday, 21 Jul 2016

Intensive physiotherapy can significantly reduce the amount of time people with hip fractures spend in hospital, new research shows.

The HIP4Hips trial randomised 92 patients aged over 65 years who were hospitalised at The Alfred in Melbourne with a hip fracture to either physiotherapy three times a day or usual care involving one physiotherapy session a day.

The research team found no statistically significant difference between the groups in the primary outcome of functional mobility on postoperative Day 5.

However, hospital length of stay was significantly lower for the intensive physiotherapy group (median, 24.4 days v 35.0 days; P = 0.01).

No differences in pain levels or opioid pain relief requirements or complications were observed between the groups.

“Our study provides support for providing intensive physiotherapy programs for those with hip fractures, and this should be considered in future care guidelines,” the researchers concluded in their paper published in the MJA.

Writing in an accompanying editorial, Dr Andreas Loefler from Australian Orthopaedic Association and Professor Jacqui Close from Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine said there will be about 26 000 hip fractures in Australia in 2016 with estimated total costs of $1 billion.

“Treatment of hip fractures consumes about 44% of total fracture-related health care expenditure, and accounts for 36% of all hospital beds occupied by patients with low trauma fractures,” they wrote.

“If these results could be replicated on a national basis, there could potentially be major reductions in the number of bed-days associated with hip fractures,” they concluded.

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