SINGAPORE: A new multi—disciplinary approach to treating hip fractures has resulted in patients securing surgery time faster and recovering quicker. It is being adopted by Changi General Hospital’s (CGH) ortho—geriatric team.
The hospital said it is seeing an increasing number of hip fracture cases each year, with most patients aged 70 and above.
One of the patients, Madam Sha’Orah Salleh, was alone at home when she slipped and fell in her kitchen. She suffered a hip fracture and was sent to Changi General Hospital where she was treated by the ortho—geriatric team.
The patient’s son—in—law, Leslie Lim, said: "After the surgery, she complained that her leg was heavy and couldn’t move. She was also in lesser pain. But gradually, as the days go by, it was much better and (her condition) improved. Now, she’s having physiotherapy in St Andrews Community Hospital and she’s able to move better than before."
Mdm Sha’Orah is among a growing number of hip fracture patients who have benefited from the ortho—geriatric team, which was formed in October 2010.
It is a multi—disciplinary team which includes nurse coordinators, orthopaedic consultants, geriatricians, pharmacists and social workers.
This new patient management approach has helped to streamline the delivery of services.
Dr Poon Kein Boon, a consultant with the CGH’s orthopaedic surgery department, said: "Last time, we always served the patient individually and if we encounter any problems then we will refer them to different specialists. That’s very tedious and takes a lot of time. And now with this multi—disciplinary team, we can cut short the time from admissions to surgery."
This, in turn, cuts short the hospital stay as physiotherapists in the team help patients recover earlier. It all goes to easing the patient load the hospital handles.
Over the past four years the number of hip fracture cases has more than doubled. It is expected to hit about 600 this year, up from 262 cases seen in 2008.
With more of such cases, the hospital is performing more surgeries for hip fracture patients. Doctors performed nine such surgeries per week this year, compared to just six per week in 2009.
Two—thirds of the patients who were admitted to Changi General Hospital for hip fractures fell at home. To prevent this, doctors advise households with elderly family members to have more elderly—friendly features at home, such as non—slip floors, grab bars and good lighting.
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