Hip fractures among elderly set to soar

A national audit into hip fractures has shown nearly a quarter of patients will die in the year after leaving hospital.

More needs to be done to prevent falls among Australia's frail, with the number of hip fractures set to soar in the next five years, a reports shows.

An audit conducted by the Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry based at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA), released on Friday, shows there were almost 22,000 hip fractures in Australia in 2016 at an estimated cost of $908 million.

The human cost from injury is higher still, with five per cent of hip fracture patients to die in hospital; and a quarter (25 per cent) to die within a year after discharge.

Professor Jacqueline Close, geriatrician and co-chair of the registry, said the fall-related injury is among the leading causes of hospitalisation in older Australians and warns this problem will grow as the population ages.

"The number of hip fractures each year is estimated to rise to more than 30,000 in the next five years at a cost exceeding $1 billion," said Prof Close.

Orthopaedic surgeon Professor Ian Harris says the risk of death depends on the care patients receive.

He says fixing the variation in care could go some way to reducing the injury-related deaths.

"Some of this variation between hospitals can markedly change the experience for the older person including how we manage their pain, timing of the surgery and the opportunity to start walking again after surgery," Prof Harris said.

There are also "huge" opportunities to prevent future falls and fractures, says Prof Close

"Strong evidence exists to support treatment of osteoporosis in this population yet there remains a care gap between what we are and should be doing," she said.

Source AAP

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