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Delayed mobilization following admission for hip fracture is associated with increased morbidity and length of hospital stay.

BACKGROUND: Current national guidelines on caring for hip fractures recommend early mobilization. However, this recommendation does not account for time spent immobilized waiting for surgery. We sought to determine timing of mobilization following hip fracture, beginning at hospital admission, and evaluate its association with medical complications and length of hospital stay (LOS).

METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of prospectively collected data for 470 consecutive patients who underwent surgery for a hip fracture between September 2019 and August 2020 at an academic, tertiary-referral hospital. Outcomes of interest included time from hospital admission to mobilization, complication rate and LOS. We used a binary regression analysis to determine the effect of different surgical and patient factors on the risk of a postoperative medical complication.

RESULTS: The mean time from admission to mobilization was 2.8 ± 2.3 days (range 3 h-14 d). There were 125 (26.6%) patients who experienced at least 1 complication. The odds of developing a complication began to increase steadily once a patient waited more than 3 days from admission to mobilization (odds ratio 2.15, 95% confidence interval 1.42-3.25). Multivariate regression analysis showed that prefracture frailty (β = 0.276, p = 0.05), and timing from hospital admission to mobilization (β = 0.156, p < 0.001) and from surgery to mobilization (β = 1.195, p < 0.001) were associated with complications. The mean LOS was 12.2 ± 10.7 days (range 1-90 d). Prolonged wait to mobilization was associated with longer LOS ( p = 0.01).

CONCLUSION: Comprehensive guidelines on timing of mobilization following hip fracture should account for cumulative time spent immobilized.

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