Lack of community rehab consigns hip fracture patients to costly hospital stays, says CSP

A new report reveals that hospital care for patients with hip fractures is improving, but the CSP says community rehabilitation could help avoid costly variations in later stage care.

The audit, published last month by the National Hip Fracture Database, shows there have been continued improvements in acute care and reduced mortality for patients with hip fractures in the UK.

But it highlights an ‘unacceptable postcode lottery’ for the overall length of stay experienced by patients.

Natalie Beswetherick, CSP director of practice and development, said: ‘The continued improvement in hospital care is very welcome. However, that good work must not be undone by a lack of community rehabilitation.

‘Too many elderly people are being left in hospital longer than they need to be because no therapy support is in place to help them be discharged and remain independent at home.

‘This is grossly unfair for elderly people and damaging for their rehabilitation.

It is also very expensive for the NHS and uses resources that would be better spent supplying the very services that would allow the patients to be discharged.’

She added that commissioners needed to look at the entire pathway to ensure patients get the care they need to return to their normal lives.

The report reveals that of the 180 NHS hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that were audited, the average length of stay ranged from 12 days to 44 days.

It recommends that differences in the quality and cost-effectiveness of later stage care could be avoided if early discharges, safe return to home and community rehabilitation were supported.

Robert Millett

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