People being treated for hip fractures at the Great Western Hospital will be among the first in the country to benefit from the findings of a new national project which aims to improve the care given to patients.
Medics in Swindon will make up one sixth of the experts taking part in the Scaling Up initiative, which allows hospitals from across the country to share learning, improvements and examples of best practice.
Statistics show that nearly a third of people who fracture their hip die within a year with a fifth of patients never being able to return to their own home.
As hip fractures require the attention of multiple specialists, the next two years will see teams from every corner of the Trust work across boundaries to introduce changes that will not only shorten recovery time, but improve a patient’s quality of life once they are home.
Alex Ashmore, Consultant in Trauma and Orthopaedics and Project Lead, said: “Hip fractures are common, especially in older people, and can often lead to a person losing their independence or having to greatly alter the way they live their life.
“Our involvement in this project means we can share our experience of the improvements we’ve introduced in Swindon, while also having exclusive access to what’s going on elsewhere in the country, which is a win-win situation for our patients.
“This is the start of a very exciting two years for the Great Western Hospital and I’m really keen to establish its reputation as a leading force in hip fracture care.”
With the project due to officially launch this week, Alex and his team have already identified some of the steps needed to build on the service they’re already providing.
One such measure is the introduction of a nutritional assistant to support regular and healthy eating in elderly people, who are often most susceptible to such an injury.
With good nutrition at the heart of any recovery plan, the new role will ensure that elderly patients, some of whom may lack the capacity to ask for food when hungry, get the essential nourishment needed to stay healthy in hospital.
The Scaling Up initiative was first used by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust in 2011 and produced a number of positive results, including improved survival rates and faster access to imaging and surgery.
It proved so successful that the project was given funding by the Health Foundation to be rolled out nationally.
In 2015, almost 65,000 people were admitted to hospital with a fractured hip