More intensive hospital physiotherapy has been found to be safe and effective in reducing length of hospital stays, research published in the Medical Journal of Australia has found.
Senior physiotherapist Ms Lara Kimmel and colleagues from Alfred Health, Monash University and LaTrobe University, completed a randomised trial of 92 patients aged 65 years or more with isolated hip fractures, comparing regular once-daily physiotherapy sessions with sessions three times a day.
After the pre-operative differences between the groups were taken into account, there was a significant difference in functional mobility at day 5 after operation. Additionally. There was also a significant difference between length of hospital stay for the intensive physiotherapy group, "with a 10-day reduction across acute and subacute care, reflected by a similar improvement in the time to physical readiness for discharge".
Further, the difference in length of stay was still evident well into the rehabilitation period.
In an accompanying editorial, Dr Andreas Loefler from Australian Orthopaedic Association and Professor Jacqui Close from Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine wrote that this early intervention could help reduce personal and financial costs of this growing problem.
There will be about 26 000 hip fractures in Australia in 2016 with estimated total costs of $1 billion.
"Treatment of hip fractures consumes about 44% of total fracture-related health care expenditure, and accounts for 36% of all hospital beds occupied by patients with low trauma fractures," they wrote.
"If these results could be replicated on a national basis, there could potentially be major reductions in the number of bed-days associated with hip fractures."
Article: HIP4Hips (High Intensity Physiotherapy for Hip fractures in the acute hospital setting): a randomised controlled trial, Lara A Kimmel, Susan M Liew, James M Sayer and Anne E Holland, Medical Journal of Australia, doi: 10.5694/mja16.00091, published 18 July 2016.