Hip Fractures can Lead to Permanent Disability and Early Death
One of the most devastating outcomes for seniors after an unintentional fall is to suffer a hip fracture. Hip fractures are particularly deadly, as many seniors will have complications that can lead to a permanent disability or early death. The first year after a hip fracture is crucial, as it is during this time that complications can set in that lead to death such as pneumonia, blood clots, bleeding and other kinds of infections. Urinary tract infections (UTI) are very common in seniors after hip fractures. Hip fractures are also a psychological blow, especially for a senior who was independent and managing to take care of him/herself and now is in a more helpless and dependent situation.
Osteoporosis a Leading Cause of Hip Fractures
More hip fractures occur in women than men and this may be because of osteoporosis a disease condition that weakens bones and makes them frail and brittle and is more common in post-menopausal women than men until age 70 when it is equally common in both. For more information about osteoporosis and hip fractures, please see our blog post from March 21, 2018.
Most Hip Fractures are Treated by Surgery
Most hip fractures are treated by surgery and sometimes require a total hip replacement, but not all depending on the condition of the patient and the extent of the fracture. A study showed there was no real difference as far as outcome or mortality for those treated surgically and for those who were medically unfit and could not be treated by surgery. Some get better and some don’t. Those who do get back on their feet may need a crutch, walker or cane to help them to walk.
However, whether they undergo surgery or not for a hip fracture, they all need extensive short or long-term rehabilitation. Generally, recovery is faster for those who were in good shape before the hip fracture.
Rehabilitation is Begun 24 Hours after Surgery
Patients must not lie in bed a lot to avoid blood clots. Those that have surgery are usually given medicines to prevent blood clots. Rehabilitation is typically begun 24 hours after surgery for those who were operated on to repair the fracture. Physical therapy is started about a week after the fracture where the patient will be taught how to walk assisted with a walker and even how to climb stairs. This physical therapy involves all kinds of muscle strengthening exercises. Usually the patient remains in the hospital for about two weeks and then gets transferred to a short or long-term rehabilitation facility.
Choosing a Short or Long-Term Rehab
Most of those recovering from a hip fracture will have to go to a short or long-term rehabilitation care facility depending on the shape they are in. Other medical chronic diseases like frailty, diabetes, dementia or neurodegenerative diseases will determine whether they need short or long-term rehabilitation and care. A social worker may guide the family and help them choose the most suitable rehab. In most cases they will opt for a rehab that is close to the hospital to ease the transfer from the hospital to the rehab. The social worker will also show them what Medicare or Medicaid will pay and check if the patient has other private disability or accident insurance.
Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation
The Royal Suites Healthcare and Rehabilitation in Galloway Township, New Jersey with a five-star rating, has a special rehabilitation and subacute unit that offers expert care headed by a psychiatrist, who specializes in rehabilitation. The unit contains a state-of-the-art gym, a spacious dining hall where residents can choose what they want to eat and lovely private and semi-private suites with television and a private bathroom. Royal Suites is surrounded by eight acres of woods and has some beautiful landscaped garden areas. It is close to shopping, houses of worship and pharmacies. Nearby hospitals and medical centers are the Shore Medical Center, the Atlanticare Regional Medical Center (ARMC) and the Bacharach Institute for Rehabilitation.
Most hip fractures are from unintentional falls. No one wants to experience a hip fracture and every step should be taken to prevent unintentional falls. See our previous blog from March 26, 2018 on Effective Interventions to Prevent Falls in Seniors. This is crucial also to preventing another fall which could lead to further fractures and more disabilities.