BAKGROUND : Length of stay and factors that contribute to length of stay in elderly patients who have undergone hip fracture surgery is under researched in developing countries, including South Africa. The purpose of this study was to describe the factors that increase length of stay (LOS) among elderly patients who have had hip fracture surgery.
METHODS : A retrospective review of patient records of elderly (>65 years) patients who had hip fracture surgery in a public hospital in South Africa. Descriptive statistics were used to report demographic data, LOS and frequency distributions of individual factors relating to LOS. Two sample t-tests were used to compare the LOS in patients with and without main complications reported.
RESULTS : The mean total length of stay was 33 (19) days. Patients presented with numerous comorbidities, with hypertension (n = 93) being the most prevalent. The most frequently occurring complications included anaemia (n = 42) and wound infection (n = 21). The LOS was significantly lower for patients not presenting with wound infections compared to those who sustained a wound infection (p = 0.041). Social factors delayed departure from the hospital for 48 patients.
CONCLUSION : Elderly patients who had hip fracture surgery and developed wound infections had an increased LOS. However social issues also contributed to the increase in length of stay that could be addressed by proper planning and involvement of families and care givers. The factors identified could be used as a starting point for planning services aimed at decreasing the hospital stay of elderly patients.