Medway Maritime Hospital has launched a s six-month trial of a new pathway, involving associated practitioners, to help improve survival rates for older patients who are admitted with fractured hips.
Medway NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, is currently above the national mortality rate for hip fracture admissions of 15 out of every 100 patients.
“The new pathway we have introduced has made the process more seamless”
As a result, clinicians from the trust and South East Coast Ambulance Service, are now working in partnership to ensure patients are handed to the direct care of orthopaedics as quickly as possible.
The trust noted that patients could previously have waited up to six hours in the accident and emergency department before they were transferred to an orthopaedic ward.
Under the new pathway, patients now come under the care of a specialist orthopaedic consultant within 81 minutes – improving both their experience and chances of survival.
The recent introduction by the trust of specially-trained associated practitioners – a role often used in the US – was a “vital part” of the new patient pathway, it said.
Ambulance crews arriving at the home of an older patient with a fractured hip now directly call an associated practitioner who will commence the new process immediately, said the trust.
It involves arranging x-rays in advance of the patient arriving and ensuring a bed is available on the orthopaedic ward.
The associated practitioners provide on-call cover on a 24-hour basis, seven days a week, added trust said.
hip bone skeleton anatomical
Cliff Evans, consultant nurse in the trust’s emergency department, said: “It’s essential that we continue to introduce the right clinical measures to help improve patient care and experience – particularly for the more vulnerable members of our community.
“We’re really pleased the working partnership we now have in place with our colleagues in orthopaedics is already starting to deliver such positive results,” he said. ”This will also prove highly significant in helping us to get below the national mortality average.”
Amy Kinch, the trust’s orthopaedic trauma co-ordinator, added: “The new pathway we have introduced has made the process more seamless for our frail elderly patients, and we’re encouraged by the early results.”
The success of the trial will also help influence the trust’s overall hospital standardised mortality ratio rating, which is currently 100.19 and almost line with the national average of 100.
The trust serves a population of more than 400,000 in Medway and Swale, receives more than 110,000 visits to A&E.