Several patients fracture hips after falls at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals

Several patients fractured their hips as a result of falling at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals last year, new figures reveal.

Saturday, 6th June 2020, 7:00 am

Several patients fractured their hips as a result of falling at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals last year, new figures reveal.

Charity Age UK said falls resulting in injury can have "devastating" long-term effects on older people who account for the majority of hospital falls.

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust reported 10 falls resulting in hip fractures in the first eight months of 2019, the National Audit of Inpatient Falls by the Royal College of Physicians shows.

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Several patients fractured their hips as a result of falling at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals last year, new figures reveal.

The NAIF was first launched in 2015 to provide a snapshot of the fall prevention activity carried out in hospitals across England and Wales.

After a further snapshot in 2017 revealed slow progress on improving key measures, the assessment was reformed and relaunched at the start of last year.

The new audit focuses on monitoring the care of patients who suffer hip fractures after falling in inpatient settings, and has resulted in 12 recommendations being made to trusts and health boards in the two countries.

Two such recommendations are for a patient to receive a medical assessment within 30 minutes of a fall, as recommended by NICE, and for hip fracture management to start "without delay".

But patients who fell at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals waited a median time of nine hours and 48 minutes to be admitted for hip fracture care last year, the data reveals – much longer than the national median time of six hours and 18 minutes.

The median is the middle of a range of figures, meaning it will not be skewed by very low or high values.

The audit found that the trust does have NICE-recommended flat lifting equipment available on all sites, which can be used to move patients with suspected hip fractures.

It also provides walking aids to all newly admitted patients who need one.

Across England and Wales, 910 falls resulting in hip fractures were reported between January and August last year. Of those, the most common location (32%) was on medical wards, with 21% on wards for the elderly.

Falls are the most frequently reported incident affecting hospital inpatients, with 247,000 occurring each year in England, according to the NHS.

The NAIF report says elderly patients are more likely to be severely injured after falling, and are twice as likely to die as a result of falling in hospital compared to those who fall outside hospital.

Caroline Abrahams, Age UK’s charity director, said: "No one should experience a fall while under the care of a hospital, and certainly not one so severe that it results in a hip fracture.

"Such an injury can have a devastating long-term effect on an older person. It can lead to permanent disability, loss of independence and confidence, and future mental health need.

"Hospitals should be safe environments that both deliver care that minimises harm while also allowing people to have some physical activity wherever possible."

She added that while falls are dismissed as an "inevitable" part of growing older, work can be done to help prevent them, including making sure a patient's space is safe in hospital while still allowing them the freedom to move around.

In the NAIF report, Julie Windsor, patient safety lead for medical specialties and older people at NHS Improvement, said the audit gives a detailed look into the care provided shortly after a patient's fall for the first time.

"We are able to see clearly where what happens in actuality may depart from policy and intention," she said.

"This report confirms that patients who fall and fracture their hip in hospital are the oldest old and the frailest frail and perhaps challenges ideas about where injurious falls occur.

"It is essential that all specialties caring for older people need to be fully signed up to falls prevention."