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Minister Donnelly and Minister Butler Welcome Shorter Hospital Stay for Hip Fracture Recovery

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD and Minister of State for Mental Health and Older People, Mary Butler TD have welcomed shorter hospital stays for hip fracture patients.  

The Irish Hip Fracture Database National Report 2020, published by the National Office of Clinical Audit, found the mean length of stay for hip fracture patients was 17.1 days, a reduction of almost 2.5 days from 2019. This equates to a saving of almost 10,000 acute hospital bed days in 2020 compared to 2019. 

Improvements in hospitals achieving the Irish Hip Fracture Standards means hip fracture patients are benefiting from the Sláintecare aims of improving patient experience and achieving better outcomes.  


Minister Donnelly said: “I welcome the Irish Hip Fracture Database National Report 2020. This is the 8th such National Report and it provides information on the care of hip fractures during the first part of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its findings also improve our understanding on prevention and how older people can ‘Stay Safe at Home’ and ‘Be Active at Home’.


"I particularly welcome this year’s audit findings that show there were further improvements in direct admissions of patients to the operating theatre or orthopaedic ward; and also further improvements in care and a reduced hospital stay for patients.


"The audit was conducted in a time of great change and flux for our healthcare system and I would like to acknowledge the efforts of all the staff who worked to produce this report, which is key to further improving hip fracture care in Ireland for patients and their families.”


The report also found that:  

  • 75% of patients received hip surgery within 48 hours of first presentation and within normal working hours.  
  • 33% of patients were admitted to an orthopaedic ward within four hours of first presentation or directly to the theatre from the ED within four hours. 
  • 78% of patients were mobilised by a physiotherapist on the day or day after surgery. 
  • Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital Drogheda received the Golden Hip Award for having the highest proportion of patients meeting the Irish Hip Fracture Standards. 

Minister Butler said: “Hip fracture continues to be a serious and sometimes life changing injury sustained by older people. This can impact hugely on individuals and their families and affect their day to day lives.    


“This audit allows hospitals to measure their care and understand and improve hip fracture care in Ireland to achieve better outcomes for hip fracture patients.” 




Notes to Editor 


Irish Hip Fracture Database 

The Irish Hip Fracture Database (IHFD) is a clinically led, web-based audit which measures the care and outcomes of patients with hip fractures. The IHFD is under the governance of the National Office of Clinical Audit. 

The first report was published in 2013, with a report published annually. This is the 8th report to be published.   

The aim of the IHFD is to maintain a prospective database of all patients in Ireland aged over 60 years with a hip fracture in order to drive continuous quality improvement for better safer care. Each hospital receives their own quarterly report. 


Irish Hip Fracture Standards 

The audit is based on the Irish Hip Fracture Standards (IHFS) which are adopted from international literature and are comparable with many international hip fracture registers. 


The seven clinical standards are: 

  • IHFS 1: Admitted to an orthopaedic ward/theatre within 4 hours. 
  • IHFS 2: Receive surgery within 48 hours. 
  • IHFS 3: Not develop a pressure ulcer. 
  • IHFS 4: Be seen by a geriatrician or an advanced nurse practitioner. 
  • IHFS 5: Receive a bone health assessment. 
  • IHFS 6: Receive a specialist falls assessment. 
  • IHFS 7: Be mobilised by a physiotherapist on the day or day after surgery (introduced for the 2020 audit and this is the first year of reporting). 

The two governance standards are: 

  • The hospital enters 90% of data in the IHFD. 
  • The hospital has a local Hip Fracture Governance Committee (HFGC).