With the prospect of a long cold winter in store, Medway Maritime Hospital has launched a special six-month trial to help improve the survival rates of elderly patients who are admitted with fractured hips.
The national mortality rate for patients who come to hospital with a fractured hip is currently 15 – meaning 15 out of every 100 patients do not survive. Medway lies above the national average and is therefore taking proactive steps to help lower its current standing.
In what is a major development for patients in Kent and Medway, clinicians from the Trust and South East Coast Ambulance Service, are now working in close partnership to ensure that patients are handed into the direct care of orthopaedic experts as quickly and safely as possible, following their admission into hospital.
In the past, patients could wait up to six hours in the Emergency Department before they were transferred to an orthopaedic ward. The new pathway is already delivering impressive results: patients now come under the care of a specialist orthopaedic consultant within 81 minutes – greatly improving both their experience and chances of survival.
The introduction of the recently appointed Associated Practitioners (APs), who have undertaken specific training, is a vital part of the new patient pathway. APs provide on-call cover on a 24 hour basis, seven days a week.
Emergency ambulance crews arriving at the home of an elderly patient with a fractured hip will now directly call the Associated Practitioner who will commence the new process immediately. This involves arranging x-rays in advance of the patient arriving, and ensuring a bed is available on the orthopaedic ward.
Amy Kinch, Orthopaedic Trauma Coordinator at Medway Maritime Hospital, said: “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.
“We know that patients – particularly those in their 80s – stand a far greater chance of survival and recovery if they come under the care of an orthopaedic consultant sooner, rather than later.
“Due to operational pressures in the past, patients could wait for prolonged periods to see a specialist before being moved to a specialist bed. This new pathway ensures they are seen by an orthopaedic consultant far earlier.
“Once we receive the alert, and we know that we have a patient who meets the criteria, we can start putting in place the necessary measures to ensure they receive the best of care.”
Cliff Evans, Consultant Nurse in the 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. This will also prove highly significant in helping us to get below the national mortality average.”
The Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) for Medway NHS Foundation Trust has reduced considerably to 100.19 and is almost line with the national average of 100. The success of this trial will also help influence the overall HSMR rating for the Trust.