Geriatric Hip Fracture Assessment
Brian Leader, Vice President, Orthopedic & Perioperative Services 1,2
1Department of Surgery, Lehigh Valley Health Network
2Research Scholar Program Mentor
The project is to design and implement a Geriatric Hip Fracture (GHF) Program for Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg locations for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 to improve clinical outcomes. The ultimate goal is to focus on Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) Triple Aim: better health; better costs; and better care. In following the Triple Aim, LVHN could standardize hospital care, reduce length of stay, minimize complications and re-admission rates, improve patient and staff education for pre-and post-operative phases to decrease costs for the network and patients, provide better health care, and improve health.
In the United States, more than 250,000 hip fractures are done annually for people 60 years and older (Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2015). Geriatric patients often have osteoporosis; which causes bone loss. Further, multiple medications, poor visions, and balance problems are three major causes for geriatric hip fractures (Mayoclinic, 2015). A lack of vitamin D and calcium in a person’s body will cause their bones to become significantly weaker. Endocrine disorders are also a reason for weakened and fragile bones (Mayoclinic, 2015). Women have a higher risk of breaking their hip. Women account for about 75 percent of hip fractures. This percentage is an example of hormonal deficiencies impacting causation of hip fractures. After menopause, women’s production of estrogen drops, which results in bone density (CDC, 2015). Medications cause frequent falls such as cordisone (Mayoclinic, 2015) and long-term steroid medicines used to treat asthma and COPD (Webmd, 2013) which cause dizziness. Geriatric hip fractures can also occur after improper leg movements or falls.
Complications occur post-operatively; one in five people will die within a year after their surgery (CDC, 2015). Co-morbidities impact mortality rates. Often, patients admitted to the emergency department have co-morbidities because of their age. Patients may arrive to the hospital with low cognitive function and be confused. Such cognitive function will continue to decline because the patients are in a new environment and are already confused. Their confusion will continue post-operatively, especially after anesthesia. Studies show that post-operative delirium in geriatric patients is common (Wang J, Li Z, Yu Y, Li B, Shao G, Wang Q, 2015).
Most hip fractures require surgical repair or replacement, followed by months of physical therapy (Mayoclinic, 2015). Depending on the location and severity of the fracture, there are three general options for surgery. There is an internal, partial or total hip replacement.
After surgery, patients are immobile for long periods of time, which results in: post-operative problems; blood clots in legs or lungs; bedsores; urinary tract infections; pneumonia; and further loss of muscle mass. These increase the risk of falling and injury (Mayoclinic, 2015).
LVHN noticed issues; refer to figures 1-3, and decided to bring in a third party consultant, Accelero, to help. Accelero Health Partners is a consulting firm that focuses strictly on orthopedic and musculoskeletal services. I was in charge of coordinating the site visit with the Accelero representatives. They arrived on site for four days and interviewed key stakeholders involved with geriatric hip fractures. The process was examined from admission to surgery to discharge.
In Figure 1, Accelero benchmarked data for patient admission to the operating room. As shown below, LVHN is below the 25th percentile for getting the patients to the operating room in that amount of time. In Figure 2, the data for length of stay was compared to Accelero Orthoval. Between Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg, only half (53.5%) of patients are discharged within five days, this number is also below the 25th percentile. Another problem seen with this data is the decrease in patients at the Muhlenberg location. It is not as large as Cedar Crest, but a decrease in patients is not a positive thing for the network. LVHN needs to implement a new GHF Program because it’s three main indicators (i.e., operating room, length of stay, annual volume) are problematic.
Accelero Health Partners came to Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest locations to perform interviews and to hold process mapping sessions. It is really important to get a perspective from all the different areas who deal with the patients, from when they arrive to the emergency department and are released to rehab.
People from various departments attended; refer to Table 1.
Accelero conducts a four-day Hip Fracture Assessment. Before any interviews, Accelero will evaluate/benchmark LVHN’s data to other networks that have gone through a similar problem/process. Then Accelero conducts 40 interviews on site with GHF stakeholders.
Additionally, there are three sessions for process flow mapping. The first session maps patient flow from the Emergency Department to the Operating Room at the Muhlenberg Hospital. The second session is also designated for the Emergency Department to the Operating Room process but at the Cedar Crest Hospital. Certain stakeholders have the same role for both locations; but the key to the mapping sessions is to ensure that each location analyzes their own issues. The final mapping session combined the locations and discussed the process from the Operating Room to Post-Operation.
Further, a separate team focuses on perioperative observations; watching the process and seeing how everything works together in the operating room. This includes sterilizations, strategy, and collaboration.
After conducting the care continuum interviews, process mapping sessions, and the perioperative observations, Accelero came up with LVHN’s pros and cons, especially the most prevalent problems.
The first topic of the debriefing session included pros and cons of the LVHN’s process for hip fractures. Accelero noted LVHN has a well-developed service line structure and comprehensive building blocks for geriatric hip fracture. Employees are very caring and invested in LVHN which makes it easier for change and flow of communication to figure out problems. There are strategic priorities within the organization, along with multidisciplinary collaboration among departments. Lehigh Valley Health Network is also in the process of implementing EPIC; an electronic health medical record system that will potentially address problems and make them work out on their own. They also have good care management services.
There were three opportunities for the Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg Hospitals. First, the ownership of the hip fracture patient, as there is a large gap as to who is responsible for the patient; orthopedic, trauma, or medicine (CITE). Medical clearance of the patient prior to surgery seems to be another opportunity. Medical clearance includes consultations from unnecessary departments that waste time; such as cardiology. The last opportunity for LVHN is education. Patients/staff involved in the care of the hip fracture patient should be more knowledgeable of geriatrics hip fractures.
Accelero will give a more detailed work plan, but they gave future recommendations, such as enhanced infrastructures; outlined roles and responsibilities for staff. LVHN must focus on patient-centered care. This includes developing an order set/plans of care targeted towards geriatric hip fracture patients from admission to discharge. Further, Accelero expressed the need to develop education for staff and for patients. Such includes strategically reducing admission to surgery time and detailing consulting guidelines and preoperative testing .The focus on geriatric hip fracture also includes implementing risk reduction strategies to establish bed placement guidelines.
Perioperative recommendations include: synchronizing Anesthesia schedules at the Muhlenberg location; improving scheduling processes at both locations; order of cases; and place holding.
A summary of the findings also was included from Accelero. It started with the Pre-Operative between Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg. As stated previously, there are major concerns ownership of the hip fracture patient, challenges with medical clearances, insufficient education of staff/patients, and OR time changes. The only difference is there is a lack in availability of orthopedic surgeons at Muhlenberg, and at Cedar Crest there are ED overflow/beds not available on floors.
When it comes to Perioperative scheduling Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg have schedules that change frequently, trouble with medical clearances, and place holding on schedule. The orders of cases in OR 4 are random at Cedar Crest and at Muhlenberg Anesthesia resources are not aligned with surgical need.
The Perioperative-DOS findings for Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg; At Muhlenberg there are hi-low beds used in pre-op for Fx cases. The ticket to the OR is not always filled out, changing levels process based on availability of OR and resources.
The perioperative-SPD/ equipment findings at both locations found that schedule changes drive expediting trays, need IFU’s and in-service training. For Cedar Crest specifically they need Asculabs, less weight per tray and only one single lay, and also they need R and R for MM. Muhlenberg needs consigned inventory not managed by MH so not PM’d, items go missing and there are no ways to track it
The post-operative at Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg patients are admitted throughout the house, standardized order sets/orders specific to geriatric hip fracture are non-existent. Lehigh Valley Health Network also has a lot of opportunity to create a “branded” education
For Cedar Crest there are minimal rehabilitation therapy services. For Muhlenberg, the availability of specialty beds (high low) are not available, there are reactive risk reduction vs. deliberate and, proactive risk reduction.
The Physician input was very critical in the assessment. Physicians noted geriatric hip fractures should be admitted to medicine, pre-operative readiness requirements, cohort hip fracture patients together, involve anesthesia should be involved earlier in the process, and rehabilitation and education should be enhanced.
Accelero’s site visit stressed the importance of implementing a geriatric hip fracture program. The next agenda is having a meeting/conference call between Accelero representatives and LVHN key employees to discuss a future work plan.
Time to OR % < 24 Hours
Figure 1, percent of patients who are admitted to the operating room within 24 hours.
Length of Stay: % < 5 days
Figure 2, percent of patients who are admitted and discharged within five days or less.
Volume by Location (FY14-FY15)
Figure 3, patients admitted for Geriatric Hip Fractures between both Cedar Crest and Muhlenberg locations for FY14 and FY15
Table 1. Attendees for the Accelero Site Visit
1. Hip Fractures Among Older Adults. (2015, June 30). Retrieved July 20, 2015, from
2. Diseases and Conditions: Hip Fracture (n.d.). Retrieved July 27, 2015, from
3. Wang J, Li Z, Yu Y, Li B, Shao G, Wang Q. (2015, June 10). Result Filters. Retrieved
July 16, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26097170
4. Hip Fracture-Topic Overview. (2013, November 5). Retrieved July 27, 2015, from
Published In/Presented At
Deabler, C. (2015, July 31) Geriatric Hip Fracture Assessment. Poster presented at LVHN Research Scholar Program Poster Session, Lehigh Valley Health Network, Allentown, PA.
Research Scholars (Acknowledgements and Co-authored Publications), Research Scholars - Posters