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Calcif Tissue Int. 2012 Jul;91(1):1-14. doi: 10.1007/s00223-012-9589-2. Epub 2012 Apr 3.

The effect of care pathways for hip fractures: a systematic review.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Eastern Piedmont Amedeo Avogadro, Novara, Italy.


We performed a systematic review for primary studies on care pathways (CPs) for hip fracture (HF). The online databases MEDLINE-PubMed, Ovid-EMBASE, CINAHL-EBSCO host, and The Cochrane Library (Cochrane Central Register of Clinical Trials, Health Technology Assessment Database, NHS Economic Evaluation Database) were searched. Two researchers reviewed the literature independently. Primary studies that met predefined inclusion criteria were assessed for their methodological quality. A total of 15 publications were included: 15 primary studies corresponding with 12 main investigations. Primary studies were evaluated for clinical outcomes, process outcomes, and economic outcomes. The studies assessed a wide range of outcome measures. While a number of divergent clinical outcomes were reported, most studies showed positive results of process management and health-services utilization. In terms of mortality, the results provided evidence for a positive impact of CPs on in-hospital mortality. Most studies also showed a significantly reduced risk of complications, including medical complications, wound infections, and pressure sores. Moreover, time-span process measures showed that an improvement in the organization of care was achieved through the use of CPs. Conflicting results were observed with regard to functional recovery and mobility between patients treated with CPs compared to usual care. Although our review suggests that CPs can have positive effects in patients with HF, the available evidence is insufficient for formal recommendations. There is a need for more research on CPs with selected process and outcome indicators, for in-hospital and postdischarge management of HF, with an emphasis on well-designed randomized trials.

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