Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Patient safety in elderly hip fracture patients: design of a randomised controlled trial

Hanneke Merten1*, Sanne Lubberding1, Inge van Wagtendonk1, Paul C Johannesma2 and Cordula Wagner13

Author Affiliations

1 NIVEL, Netherlands institute for health services research, PO Box 1568, 3500 BN Utrecht, The Netherlands

2 Department of Trauma Surgery, VU university medical center, De Boelelaan 1117, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands

3 Department of Public and Occupational Health, EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU university medical center, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:59  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-59

Published: 21 March 2011



The clinical environment in which health care providers have to work everyday is highly complex; this increases the risk for the occurrence of unintended events. The aim of this randomised controlled trial is to improve patient safety for a vulnerable group of patients that have to go through a complex care chain, namely elderly hip fracture patients.


A randomised controlled trial that consists of three interventions; these will be implemented in three surgical wards in Dutch hospitals. One surgical ward in another hospital will be the control group. The first intervention is aimed at improving communication between care providers using the SBAR communication tool. The second intervention is directed at stimulating the role of the patient within the care process with a patient safety card. The third intervention consists of a leaflet for patients with information on the most common complications for the period after discharge. The primary outcome measures in this study are the incidence of complications and adverse events, mortality rate within six months after discharge and functional mobility six months after discharge. Secondary outcome measures are length of hospital stay, quality and completeness of information transfer and patient satisfaction with the instruments.


The results will give insight into the nature and scale of complications and adverse events that occur in elderly hip fracture patients. Also, the implementation of three interventions aimed at improving the communication and information transfer provides valuable possibilities for improving patient safety in this increasing patient group. This study combines the use of three interventions, which is an innovative aspect of the study.

Trial registration

The Netherlands National Trial Register NTR1562