Factors Associated With Emergency Department Length of Stay for Patients With Hip Fracture

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Abstract

Time to surgery, which includes time in the emergency department (ED), is important for all patients with hip fracture. We hypothesized that patients with hip fracture spend significantly more time in the ED than do patients with the top 5 most common conditions. In addition, we hypothesized that there are patient, physician, and hospital factors that affect the length of time spent in the ED. We retrospectively reviewed our institution’s hip fracture database and identified 147 elderly patients with hip fractures who presented to our ED from December 18, 2005, through April 30, 2009. We reviewed their records for patient, practitioner, and hospital factors of interest associated with ED time and for 6 specified time intervals. Average working, boarding (waiting for an inpatient room), and total times were calculated and compared with respective averages for admitted ED patients with the top 5 most common conditions. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed before and after adjusting for confounders (significance, P = .05). The mean total ED time (7 hours and 25 minutes) and working time (4 hours and 31 minutes) for patients with hip fracture were similar to the respective overall averages for admitted ED patients. However, the average boarding time for patients with hip fracture was 2 hours 44 minutes, longer than that for other patients admitted through the ED. Factors significantly associated with longer ED times were a history of hypertension, history of atrial fibrillation, the number of computed tomography scans ordered, and the occupancy rate. Admission to the hip fracture service decreased working time but not overall time. Substantial multidisciplinary work among the ED, hospital admission services, and physicians is needed to dramatically decrease the boarding time and thus the overall time to surgery.

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