Hospital ‘extra meal’ scheme cuts deaths among elderly fracture patients, study shows

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
15/01/2019 - 06:00
An NHS pilot scheme that involved giving elderly hospital patients with hip fractures one extra meal a day has shown that the strategy can halve the number of deaths among them.

Experts behind the programme say older patients are typically failing to consume enough nutrients while convalescing on geriatric wards, according to the Daily Telegraph.

They believe this contributes to the toll of more than 4,000 elderly people who die within a month of being admitted for a hip fracture each year.

The trial was carried among five trusts in England and one in Scotland, the introduction of dedicated nutritional advisers who personally source the extra meal and sit with patients while it is eaten has coincided with a mortality drop from 11% to 5.5%

Dominic Inman, chief orthopaedic surgeon for the National Hip Fracture Database, said that food intake had not been taken into consideration before.

“At that point it's all about getting calories into the patient. If you look upon food as a very, very cheap drug, that's extremely powerful.”

The pilot scheme was led by the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust where elderly hip fracture patients were given an extra meal a day by nutrition advisers, who then sat with the patients while they ate.

By cutting the recovery times, the scheme enabled managers to save an average of £1,437 per patient, according to Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The other trusts taking part in HIP QIP were Great Western Hospital in Swindon, Gloucestershire Hospital, Weston General Hospital, James Cook University Hospital Middlesex, and Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

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