Dealing with Hip Fractures


In this blog and many other places focused on aging, the issue of hip fractures has been dealt with many times, as a major source of decline and death for the elderly. That is not going to go away. However, the The Journal of the American Medical Association has published a study well worth serious focus, for all of us, summarized here.

Broken Leg-HipIn a very small nutshell, the study points to the importance of a home-based exercise program, after treatment in a hospital and / or rehab center. Why is that important?

More than 250,000 people in the U.S. fracture a hip every year – and long-term outcomes for hip fracture patients are discouraging. Two years after experiencing a hip fracture, more than 80 percent of patients who could previously walk without assistance and climb stairs are unable to resume these activities, [physical therapist Nancy K.] Latham said. This immobility, combined with fear of falling, prevents them from doing any activities – often leading to a downward spiral in function and quality of life.

So, did the introduction of an exercise program in the home make a difference? The answer is definitely, “Yes.”

After six months, the intervention group had significant improvement in functional mobility and balance, over the control group. Three months after the study ended, researchers followed up with participants and the intervention group continued to have better functionality.

For us, at Support For Home In-Home Care, we know that there is, quite frequently, another ingredient to the success of such a home-based therapy and exercise program. That ingredient is a supportive family or caregiver, to make sure that the exercises and therapy are done on an on-going basis. Motivation is really important, especially for older seniors who are often afraid of falling and, therefore, reluctant to “stretch” their limits.

If there is a family support system to encourage (often this translates to “push”) the patient, fantastic. If not, contact a solid home care agency who can provide a trained, passionate Home Care Aide during the recovery period. The cost is a lot less than the loss of mobility and health that will otherwise be a likely outcome.

Best wishes – and do your exercises!!! Bert

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