Outcomes of COVID-19 negative hip fracture patients during the acute and subacute pandemic
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OBJECTIVES: To better elucidate how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the operatively treated geriatric hip fracture population and how the health care system adapted to pandemic dictated procedures. DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. SETTING: A community hospital. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals ≥65 years of age presented with a proximal femoral fracture from a low-energy mechanism undergoing operative treatment from January 17, 2020 to July 2, 2020 (N = 125). MEASUREMENTS: We defined 3 phases of healthcare system response: pre-COVID-19, acute phase, and subacute phase. Thirty-day mortality, time to operating room (OR), length of stay, time to start physical therapy, perioperative complications, delirium rate, hospice admission rate, discharge dispositions, readmission rate, and the reason of surgery delay were assessed. RESULTS: The number of hip fractures has remained constant during the pandemic. The 30-day mortality rate, time to OR, and length of stay were higher in the pandemic compared to the pre-pandemic. Those who had a longer wait time to OR (≥ 24 hours) had more complications and increased 30-day mortality rates. Some of the surgery delays were related to OR unavailability as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Surgery was delayed in 3 patients who were on direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) in pandemic but none for pre-pandemic period. CONCLUSION: This is the first study to compare the effect of the acute and subacute phases of the pandemic on uninfected hip fracture patients. In the age of COVID-19, to provide the best care for the vulnerable geriatric orthopedic populations, the healthcare system must adopt new protocols. We should still aim to promote prompt surgical care when indicated. It is important to ensure adequate resource availability, such as OR time and staff so that hip fracture patients may continue to receive rapid access to surgery. A multidisciplinary approach remains the key to the management of fragility hip fracture patients during the pandemic.
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