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Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2019 Jan 3:1-5. doi: 10.1308/rcsann.2018.0220. [Epub ahead of print]

Does a dedicated hip fracture unit improve clinical outcomes? A five-year case series.

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Trauma and Orthopaedics, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust , Brighton , UK.
Brighton and Sussex Medical School , Brighton , UK.



The aim of the study was to establish whether a dedicated hip fracture unit, geographically separate from the local major trauma centre, could improve clinical outcomes for patients sustaining proximal femoral fragility fractures.


This study was a retrospective case series, using data collected from Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust's submissions to the National Hip Fracture Database between 1 April 2011 and 16 September 2016. The outcomes measured were mortality, length of hospital stay, time from admission to surgical intervention and return to premorbid residence. Patients were compared before and after reconfiguration of services into a separate dedicated hip fracture unit geographically distinct from the major trauma centre.


A total of 2117 patients (2178 injuries) were managed before the existence of the hip fracture unit, while 660 patients (673 injuries) were treated within the hip fracture unit. During the five-year study period, the 30-day mortality rate (pre-hip fracture unit 5.47% vs hip fracture unit 3.13%, P = 0.014), variance in the length of hospital stay (P < 0.001), mean time to surgical intervention (P = 0.044) and return to premorbid residence were significantly improved. An immediate 12-month comparison demonstrated significantly improved variance in length of hospital stay (P = 0.020) and return to premorbid residence (P = 0.015).


The reconfiguration of services significantly reduced variance in length of stay, enabling accurate resource planning in future. Multiple incremental improvements in service provision, in addition to the hip fracture unit, may explain the lower mortality observed.


While further research is required, replication of the hip fracture unit service model may potentially afford significant clinical and financial gains.


Femoral neck fracture; Frail elderly; Hip fracture; Orthopaedic surgery; Osteoporosis; Quality improvement


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