About 10 percent of hip fracture patients in Canada die in the hospital, but little is known about how changes to patient care could improve survival, the study authors said.
Researchers examined data from more than 168,000 patients 65 and older in Canada who were hospitalized with a first hip fracture between January 2004 and December 2012.
For every 1,000 patients admitted to a hospital with a hip fracture, 43 more died at small hospitals (fewer than 50 beds) and 14 more died at medium-sized hospitals (50 to 199 beds) than at larger teaching hospitals, the study found.
For every 1,000 patients who had surgery to repair their hip fracture, 11 more died at medium-sized hospitals than at teaching hospitals, according to the study in the Oct. 17 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Most hip fracture patients undergo surgery.
"In the elderly, hip fractures occur as frequently as common cancers but with severely worse outcomes," said lead researcher Dr. Katie Sheehan. She is with the University of British Columbia's School of Population and Public Health in Vancouver.
"Even after treatment, 30 percent die within a year, 25 percent never walk again and 22 percent never live independently. These figures have not changed in the past 15 years, and qualify hip fractures as a major health care issue in Canada," Sheehan said in a journal news release.
Further study is needed to learn more about why hip fracture patients at teaching hospitals have lower death rates than those at small and medium-sized hospitals, the researchers said.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about seniors and hip fractures.
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