Hip fracture is a serious, life-changing injury that can affect older people, and is the most common reason for them to need emergency anaesthesia and surgery. The Physiotherapy Hip Fracture Sprint Audit (PHFSA) was the biggest ever audit of UK physiotherapy, and has implications for physiotherapists working in many settings.
- Collaborative multidisciplinary working is needed to ensure that pain, hypotension and delirium do not hold back early progress in physiotherapy.
- Patients should be helped to get up by the day after surgery – such ‘mobilisation’ is key to patients’ wellbeing and avoidance of complications such as delirium, deconditioning and pressure damage. This mobilisation is just one element of the physiotherapy provided to patients, but it is the key measure that the National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD) will use to drive forward local quality improvement after Hip Sprint.
- Local therapy teams should review how they record patients’ progress, so that there is clear communication of patient outcomes to multidisciplinary team (MDT) colleagues and correct reporting to the NHFD.
- Hip fracture programmes should invest in early intensive rehabilitation to maximise the number of people who can be discharged directly home from the acute orthopaedic ward.
- Hospital physiotherapy teams should put in place systems to ensure that more intense rehabilitation includes attention to strength, balance and endurance, as well as mobility.
- Physiotherapists should consider how they are teaching and working with colleagues, as Hip Sprint found little evidence that therapy work is being delegated to other staff; a missed opportunity for multidisciplinary working.
Local governance and quality improvement
- Physiotherapists, surgeons, anaesthetists, orthogeriatricians and nurses should all attend monthly hip fracture programme clinical governance meetings.
- Physiotherapists, surgeons, anaesthetists, orthogeriatricians and nurses should review their own unit’s Hip Sprint data at the NHFD and agree on a local quality improvement action plan.
- Staffing levels affect patient care, especially after the first postoperative day and at weekends, and physiotherapists should continue the transparent approach developed in Hip Sprint to highlight concerns if staffing limits their ability to deliver care as per NICE recommendations.