Objective: To compare hospital and home settings for the rehabilitation of patients following hip fracture.
Design: Randomized controlled trial comparing accelerated discharge and home-based rehabilitation (n = 34) with conventional hospital care (n = 32) for patients admitted to hospital with hip fracture.
Setting: Three metropolitan hospitals in Adelaide, Australia.
Subjects: Sixty-six patients with fractured hip.
Interventions: Patients assigned to the home-based rehabilitation group were discharged within 48 hours of randomization. The project team therapists made visits to the patient's home and negotiated a set of realistic, short-term and measurable treatment goals with both the patient and carer. Those randomized to usual care remained in hospital for conventional rehabilitation.
Main outcome measures: Physical and social dependence, balance confidence, quality of life, carer strain, patient and carer satisfaction, use of community services and incidence of adverse events such as re-admission and falls.
Results: While there was no difference between the groups for all measures of quality of life, patients in the accelerated discharge and home-based rehabilitation group recorded a greater improvement in MBI from randomization (p < 0.05) and scored higher on the Falls Efficacy Scale (p < 0.05) at four months. There was no difference in falls rates. Patients in the home-based rehabilitation group had a shorter stay in hospital (p < 0.05) but a longer stay in rehabilitation overall (p < 0.001). The groups were comparable on the rate and length of admissions after discharge, use of community services, need for carer input and contact with general practitioner (GP) after discharge.
Conclusions: This trial further supports the practice of accelerated discharge from hospital and home-based rehabilitation in selected patients recovering from hip fracture. Such a practice appears to improve physical independence and confidence in avoiding subsequent falls which may have implications for longevity and overall quality of life.