The geriatric hip fracture program streamlines the process of care for elderly patients who have experienced a broken hip or other fracture. The Geriatric Hip Fracture Program was developed with time sensitivity in mind, as immediate attention yields positive results when treating broken hips in older adults.
A hip fracture occurs when the femoral bone (the long bone running through the thigh) ruptures and dislocates from the hip joint. Broken hips are most common in older adults because bone density decreases with age. Gradual loss of density weakens bones and makes them more susceptible to fracture.
Because elderly patients usually have weaker immune systems and are more prone to infection from treatment, hip fractures pose dangers that go beyond the injury itself. During recovery, many older adults contract pneumonia or develop bedsores from the prolonged period of immobility. In addition, if they are not treated quickly, some hip fracture patients experience additional fractures. However, prompt treatment decreases the risk of complications.
When a patient arrives in NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital's Emergency Department with a broken hip, he or she is assessed for treatment as quickly as possible. Under the guidelines of the Geriatric Hip Fracture Program, the Department of Surgery performs surgery on eligible patients within 48 hours of injury. The patient is then checked for post-operative symptoms and levels of vitamin D and calcium are checked, as these are important for bone strength. He or she is then transferred to the Division of Rehabilitation Medicine for physical therapy to strengthen the hip.
In addition to optimizing care and outcomes, the Geriatric Hip Fracture Program shortens a patient's length of stay, reduces post-treatment symptoms and generally improves the patient experience.