Osteoporotic Fracture Program

The St. Francis Osteoporotic Fracture program is dedicated exclusively to the care of older patients with hip fractures. It is designed to help patients achieve the best possible outcomes and curb the negative effects of bone fractures in geriatric fractures. Our Osteoporotic Fracture program is the one of the first programs of its kind in the country, and the first in SC.

Pain Management and Streamlined Admission

Research shows that patients who are treated quickly after a hip fracture have better outcomes. However, in most healthcare facilities across the country, hip fracture patients are considered non-urgent cases and must wait days for surgical care. At St. Francis, hip fracture patients are a high priority. That means the moment they enter the Emergency Room at St. Francis Downtown and a fracture is detected, they are put on a fast track to surgery.

Fractured bones can cause a tremendous amount of pain, and early surgical treatment is one of the ways proven to relieve the pain from the fracture. Osteoporotic fracture patients at St. Francis receive surgical care much more quickly than than the national average - less than 24 hours as compared to two to three days.

When patients must wait for days to have surgery, pain is often managed with narcotics and sometimes sleeping aids, which can cause delirium in patients. This delirium, in turn, can cause a delay in starting physical therapy, leaving patients with a longer and more difficult recovery. Because patients in the Osteoporotic Fracture program are in surgery within hours instead of days, there is rarely a need to use narcotics to manage pain. This means faster and more aggressive physical therapy following surgery, which can lead to a faster recovery. Often, our patients are discharged from the hospital using only over-the-counter medicine to manage pain.

Experienced Team

Each patient in the Osteoporotic Fracture program is managed by a specialized team that includes the Medical Director, orthopedic surgeons, anesthesiologists, specialized nurses, social workers, and physical and occupational therapists. All of these experienced professionals work together to follow a specific plan for surgery and rehabilitation that best manages the care of fracture patients.

Proven Outcomes

The Osteoporotic Fracture program's unique treatment plan has led to many benefits for patients. The statistics below compare outcomes at St. Francis prior to the inception of the Osteoporotic Fracture program to our more recent outcomes:

  • Average length of stay in the hospital has been reduced from 7.3 days to 3.7 days
  • Average length of time between ER and surgery has been reduced from 69 to 17 hours
  • Infection rate has decreased from 2.62% to 0%

The statistics below compare the national average of outcomes to the outcomes of the Osteoporotic Fracture program:

  • Delirium rate is less than 10%, a figure significantly less than the national average of 80%
  • 75% of patients return to independent living, as compared to a national average of 55%
  • Mortality rate for one year post-op is less than 18%, as compared to a national average of 25-30% 

Accessing the Program

If you or a loved one experiences a fall and a hip fracture is suspected, simply go to the Emergency Room at St. Francis Downtown. If a fracture is present, you will automatically become part of this program.