Hip fracture patients facing delays for rehabilitation treatment are at an increased risk of falls and ill health.
That’s according to a survey of around 6,000 patients which found some patients in England and Wales are waiting up to 80 days after leaving hospital before they receive rehabilitation treatment.
The Royal College of Physicians’ audit revealed the average wait was 15 days, but some patients have to wait up to 80 days. The amount of rehabilitation patients received varied greatly, with some patients getting less than one hour per week.
Hip fracture is the most common cause of injury related death in adults, the report claims, and costs the NHS and social care £1bn per year.
Professor Karen Middleton, chief executive of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said hip fracture patients who do not receive rehab soon after leaving hospital risk depression, deteriorating health, and losing their mobility.
“This can bring not only further costs and pressures for the system, but more importantly, devastating consequences for the individual and their families.
“High quality and intensive rehab in the first week after surgery gives hip fracture patients the best chance of recovery, and at least 20 minutes of therapy a day could free up 1000 hospital beds a year.
“We must invest in transforming acute and community services to ensure access to high quality rehab and continuous care for all those who need it.”
Only one in five services successfully maintained the continuity of their patients’ rehabilitation, providing optimal care and the best possible chance of recovery, the report stated.
Dr Antony Johansen, clinical lead of the National Hip Fracture Database at the Royal College of Physicians, said: “If frail and older patients are to return to their normal lives, they must be helped to get up as quickly as possible after surgery. This report shows that we are failing to achieve this for a third of people, with much poorer figures in some hospitals suggesting that they need to improve their multidisciplinary team-working.
“Patients need regular physiotherapy so they can start rehabilitation as soon as possible and maintain this throughout their recovery – from hospital to home. The report clearly shows the benefit of properly coordinated care for all patients, regardless of where they live.”