Geriatric Fracture Program

Research studies have repeatedly shown that the faster geriatric patients are treated for an orthopaedic injury such as a hip fracture, the better their long-term outcomes. Prompt medical evaluation and definitive orthopaedic care will likely minimize complications from prolonged bed rest, such as the development of pneumonia and bedsores, which can delay a patient’s recovery and function.

Our Geriatric Fracture Program—one of the first of its kind in South Florida—is an integrated approach to geriatric fracture care. Our goal is to identify geriatric patients with a hip fracture as soon as they arrive in the Emergency Department and to fast-track patients by obtaining prompt pre-operative testing necessary prior to surgery.

Through access to our multidisciplinary team, patients are expedited through the hospital and promptly examined by one of our orthopaedic trauma specialists and cleared for surgery within 24 hours in most cases. Depending on the type of hip fracture, patients are treated in a minimally invasive manner with percutaneous screws, titanium rods or hip replacement as indicated.

Patients are seen by physical therapy after surgery and are up and walking the next day in most cases. While in the hospital, geriatric hip fracture patients are all on the ACE (Acute Care for Elders) unit, which is an entire floor dedicated to geriatric care. Our nursing staff have specific protocols and training to address needs specific to elderly patients. In addition, they are supervised by a board-certified geriatrician who oversees their care to maximize functional recovery and to minimize postoperative complications such as delirium. A dedicated social worker ensures a smooth transition from the hospital to home setting or to a rehabilitation facility as needed.

Comprehensive Osteoporosis Management

After surgery, patients will undergo comprehensive osteoporosis testing to assess their risk of developing future fractures. This includes conducting:

  • Basic blood tests to check vitamin D and calcium levels
  • Other specialized tests to detect an underlying cause for low bone density (PTH, TSH, among others)
  • Bone density test (DEXA)

Once the results are received, our team will provide osteoporosis counseling treatment for patients. Follow up by either a rheumatologist or primary care physician will subsequently be provided on an outpatient basis. In addition, we offer in-home fall prevention and home safety programs to minimize the risk of a subsequent fall and fracture.

Improving Fracture Care

Our division is also a member of Own the Bone, a national quality improvement program developed by the American Orthopaedic Association, aimed at improving osteoporosis awareness, counseling and treatment for patients who have sustained a geriatric fracture. Through our affiliation with the program, we offer a fracture liaison service, which ensures that post-fracture patients are identified and receive appropriate evaluation, diagnosis and treatment. For more information, go to http://www.ownthebone.org.