Hip fractures in elderly patients can be devastating for both physical and mental health. After undergoing surgery many patients go home, and without proper aftercare a large portion (33%) are re-admitted to hospital after further falls.
Researcher Rebecca Ferrier began looking into the re-admission rates for hip fracture patients at The Prince Charles Hospital and has found that, after just 6 weeks, 8% of patients had been re-admitted. After 18 weeks, this number had risen to 12%. After watching her father suffer from a hip fracture and the subsequent rehabilitation, Rebecca set out to figure out why these readmission rates were so high; and to delve further into the causes and preventable treatments that could be implemented, to ensure patients do not suffer further injury.
Rebecca started by carrying out a survey on a number of hip fracture patients, and collected their data from their 6-week follow up consult as outpatients. As the re-admission rates were so poor, she decided to do another follow up at 18 weeks and found they were worse again. She then published the results and began working on changing clinical practices within the hospital.
Through this research, Rebecca was able to change hospital practices for hip fracture patients. Previously, only 20% of discharged hip fracture patients were being seen for a follow-up consultation. Now, there is a weekly clinic for all hip fracture patients looked after one treating surgeon so that patients don’t slip through the cracks.
She also showed that the original follow-up consultation of 6 weeks was too soon – most prosthetics will show a break-down or failure within the first 10 weeks of surgery, so patients now attend the clinic after a 10 week period. On top of this, she has also added a physiotherapist review for each patient to even further improve outcomes for them.
Her research has even influenced the surgical practices at the hospital, as it has given some significant and meaningful insight into hip fracture patients and their current outcomes.
When a patient's heart and lungs begin to fail, they are often put on a treatment called extra corporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO for short. These life-support systems are often the last chance to help critically ill patients recover by helping to pump blood and oxygen around the body. From infants to children and adults, these amazing machines have saved tens of thousands of lives worldwide.
Research has shown that the inability to talk can lead to depression, social withdrawal, lack of motivation to participate in self-care, and more. This is a common issue that occurs in intensive care units (or ICUs) all over the world - patients that require a tracheostomy (a procedure that involves inserting a tube through the windpipe to create an alternative airway for breathing) lose the ability to speak, as oxygen isn't make its way past their vocal chords.