Can early dietetic intervention improve outcomes in patients with hip fracture?

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To assess whether the introduction of a new approach to nutritional care for hip fracture patients, in both acute and subacute admissions, can improve nutritional status, length of stay and pressure injuries.


Medical records of patients admitted to Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia with a fractured hip between January and June 2014 after implementation of a new nutritional care guideline were compared to a historical control group admitted between January and June 2013 prior to introduction of the guideline. Data were collected for both acute and subacute admissions and included length of stay, date of first contact with a dietitian, subjective global assessment category and occurrence of pressure injuries.


There was a significantly shorter length of stay overall for patients who received care under the new guideline (21.6 ± 15.1 vs 26.4 ± 20.4 days; P = 0.043) and during the subacute admission (20.1 ± 10.6 vs 28.8 ± 15.8 days; P < 0.001); however, there was no significant difference in the acute hospital length of stay period. The post-guideline group had a significantly shorter time between admission and first contact with a dietitian (4.8 ± 3.3 vs 7.5 ± 6.2 days; P < 0.001). Post-guideline patients also had a significantly lower incidence of pressure injuries with 29, compared to 41 in pre-guideline patients (P = 0.045). There were significantly less malnourished patients in the post-guideline group compared to the pre-guideline group across both acute and subacute admissions (29% vs 35%; P = 0.015).


A nutritional care guideline for patients with hip fractures is associated with improved patient outcomes with a significant reduction in overall and subacute length of stay and pressure injury incidence and earlier dietetic assessment and intervention.

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