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The Partnership for Health and Accountability (PHA) presented its prestigious Quality and Patient Safety Award to Emory-Adventist Hospital at Smyrna for its geriatric fracture program that provides specialized care for fragility fractures among geriatric patients. The project titled, “Improving Management of Fragility Fractures Improves Outcomes and Post-Discharge Quality of Life,” won first place in the Hospitals with Less than 100 Beds Category. These annual awards recognize Georgia health care organizations for achievement in reducing the risk of medical errors and improving patient safety and medical outcomes.

One of the most common injuries in the geriatric population is a fall resulting in a hip fracture. Almost all hip fractures require surgical treatment to bring about stability, healing, and to maintain a patient’s functional status. Observations reveal that patients who need surgery for this injury are often treated as a non-emergent low priority cases., This approach often leads to unnecessary delays to surgery, increased amounts of narcotic pain medication and the potential for complications.

The goal of Emory-Adventist Hospital’s Geriatric Fracture Program is to treat these patients with a high sense of urgency, including process management for swift surgical repair and prevention of narcotic-related delirium that can occur after surgery. Preventing this delirium enables rehabilitation therapists to get patients out of bed and walking more quickly. Another goal is to return patients to independent living at home instead of long-term skilled nursing facility placement, as well as returning them to their pre-fall functional status within 12 months.

At the time of program implementation in September 2010, there were only a few known facilities across the country, and none in Georgia, with fully functioning programs. Results of Emory-Adventist Hospital’s program showed the average time to surgery was 27.4 hours compared to the national average of 96 hours. The post-narcotic delirium rate reduction was 15 percent compared to 24 percent nationally. Inpatient mortality rates were 5 percent compared to 10 percent nationally. The average length of stay of 6.8 days compared to seven days nationally and the 30-day readmission rate was 7 percent compared to 19.4 percent nationally.

“Returning patients to a better quality of life after hospitalization is the goal of all hospitals,” said Georgia Hospital Association (GHA) President Joseph Parker. “We applaud Emory-Adventist Hospital for taking a leadership role in this effort and are grateful for its dedication to providing the best and safest care possible for its patients.”