Objectives: The aim of our study was to determine the association between admitting service, medicine or orthopaedics, and length of stay (LOS) for a geriatric hip fracture patient.
Setting: Urban level 1 trauma center.
Patients/participants: Six hundred fourteen geriatric hip fracture patients from 2000 to 2009.
Interventions: Orthopaedic surgery for geriatric hip fracture.
Main outcome measurements: Patient demographics, medical comorbidities, hospitalization length, and admitting service. Negative binomial regression used to determine association between LOS and admitting service.
Results: Six hundred fourteen geriatric hip fracture patients were included in the analysis, of whom 49.2% of patients (n = 302) were admitted to the orthopaedic service and 50.8% (3 = 312) to the medicine service. The median LOS for patients admitted to orthopaedics was 4.5 days compared with 7 days for patients admitted to medicine (P < 0.0001). Readmission was also significantly higher for patients admitted to medicine (n = 92, 29.8%) than for those admitted to orthopaedics (n = 70, 23.1%). After controlling for important patient factors, it was determined that medicine patients are expected to stay about 1.5 times (incidence rate ratio: 1.48, P < 0.0001) longer in the hospital than orthopaedic patients.
Conclusions: This is the largest study to demonstrate that admission to the medicine service compared with the orthopaedic service increases a geriatric hip fractures patient's expected LOS. Since LOS is a major driver of cost as well as a measure of quality care, it is important to understand the factors that lead to a longer hospital stay to better allocate hospital resources. Based on the results from our institution, orthopaedic surgeons should be aware that admission to medicine might increase a patient's expected LOS.
Level of evidence: Therapeutic Level III. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.