Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -)

, Volume 188, Issue 2, pp 517–524 | Cite as

The effect of indirect admission via hospital transfer on hip fracture patients in Ireland

  • Andrew J. HughesEmail author
  • Louise Brent
  • Regien Biesma
  • Paddy J. Kenny
  • Conor J. Hurson
Original Article


Background and aims

Current best practice states that hip fracture patients should undergo surgery within 48 hours to minimise perioperative complications. There are 10 emergency departments (EDs) in Ireland that receive hip fracture patients without a trauma and orthopaedic surgery unit on site. Idle periods and duplicated preoperative investigations can lead to a prolonged time to surgery. The aim of this study was to identify the effect of admission route on the time to surgery, length of stay and pressure ulcer development in patients who sustain a hip fracture in Ireland.


A retrospective cohort study was performed, using 2013 and 2014 data from the Irish Hip Fracture Database. Age, gender and ASA grade were identified as confounders and adjusted for accordingly.


Of the 3893 hip fractures identified, indirect admissions via hospital transfer occurred in 8.6% of cases. Surgery was performed within 48 h in 72.0% of indirect admission and 73.7% of direct admission cases (p = 0.502). The length of stay was significantly prolonged for patients admitted via hospital transfer (25.6 compared to 19.6 days, p < 0.001).


Delayed discharges post hip fracture have been shown to expose patients to increased perioperative morbidity and mortality rates, as well as reduced rehabilitation potential and less chance of returning home on discharge. This has significant cost implications for the health service and justifies the introduction of hospital bypass protocols for patients with hip fractures.


Admission route Hip fracture Hospital network Length of stay Time to surgery Trauma network 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

Ethical approval for the study was granted via the Research and Ethics Committee of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (ID 001213). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgerySt. Vincent’s University HospitalDublinIreland
  2. 2.National IHFD Audit Coordinator, National Office of Clinical AuditDublinIreland
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and Public Health MedicineRoyal College of Surgeons in IrelandDublinIreland
  4. 4.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryConnolly Hospital BlanchardstownDublinIreland

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