For healthcare professionals only

Research Article

Cost analysis of early discharge after hip fracture.

BMJ 1993; 307 doi: (Published 09 October 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;307:903
  1. W Hollingworth,
  2. C Todd,
  3. M Parker,
  4. J A Roberts,
  5. R Williams
  1. Institute of Public Health, University of Cambridge.


    OBJECTIVE--To ascertain the economic impact of an early discharge scheme for hip fracture patients. DESIGN--Population based study comparing costs of care for patients who had "hospital at home" as an option for rehabilitation and those who had no early discharge service available in their area of residence. SETTING--District hospital orthopaedic and rehabilitation wards and community hospital at home scheme. PATIENTS--1104 consecutively admitted patients with fractured neck of femur. 24 patients from outside the district were excluded. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Cost per patient episode and number of bed days spent in hospital. RESULTS--Patients with the hospital at home option spent significantly less time as inpatients (mean of 32.5 v 41.7 days; p < 0.001). Those patients who were discharged early spent a mean of 11.5 days under hospital at home care. The total direct cost to the health service was significantly less for those patients with access to early discharge than those with no early discharge option (4884 pounds v 5606 pounds; p = 0.048). CONCLUSIONS--About 40% of patients with fractured neck of femur are suitable for early discharge to a scheme such as hospital at home. The availability of such a scheme leads to lower direct costs of rehabilitative care despite higher readmission costs. These savings accrue largely from shorter stays in orthopaedic and geriatric wards.