Facilities that treat more hip fractures have better outcomes, study finds

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The more a skilled nursing facility treats residents with hip fractures, the better it becomes at helping seniors transition back into the community, a new study has found.

Researchers at Brown University evaluated records of more than 521,000 patients over the age of 75 who sought care at an SNF over a seven-year period. Results showed the rate of patients with hip fractures being successfully discharged back into their community within 30 days was more than 43% for facilities that had more than 24 fracture cases in the prior year, compared to 18.8% at facilities with between one and six cases.

Investigators, led by Pedro Gozalo, Ph.D., checked additional factors like facility characteristics and patients' cognitive levels to see if the amount of successful discharges could be influenced by reasons other than the number of fracture cases. Even when accounting for other factors, facilities with a higher volume of hip fracture patients were twice as likely to successfully discharge patients in a timely manner, researchers found.

Hip fracture consumers should look at a facility's volume of cases, the study advised. The number of cases handled in a prior year could help residents predict outcomes, Gonzalo suggested.

“If you are a good facility, you might want to advertise your volume of [hip fracture] patients,” Gozalo told McKnight's.