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25 Feb 20

Hip Fractures: Why Broken Hip Injury Causes So Much Damage to the Elderly

Alayna Hansen | Healthcare Tips

If you have an elderly family member, you’ll obviously be concerned about their health. A broken hip in the elderly is horrible to see and you’ll often worry about their condition. 

What exactly is it that makes this injury so much worse than others?

In this piece we will explore exactly why breaking a hip can have such a detrimental impact on a person’s quality of life and health. We will also explore why – according to The Conversation – one-third of individuals aged over 50 years old will die within twelve months after having broken their hip.

Risk Factors From a Hip Fracture

Hip fractures are more common than you might think and incredibly, 40 people break their hip each day across Australia.

Naturally, these hip fractures are experienced by the elderly: people aged 65 and over are more susceptible to this injury but people over 85 experience half of the total hip fractures.

Falls are the most common cause for hip fractures. These can happen while elderly people are walking or even slightly moving – hip fractures can even occur without any impact.

Those falls can be caused by a range of risk factors including:

  • Previous fractures
  • Poor lighting
  • Frailty
  • Osteoporosis
  • Slippery shoes
  • Muscle Weakness
Most hip fractures (47%) happen in private homes, while 32% of hip fractures are incurred in aged care facilities.

What Happens After a Hip Fracture?

Given that hip fractures are so closely linked with mortality in elderly people, it’s no surprise that there are some serious consequences for a broken hip in the elderly.

In fact, for every 40 hip fractures that happen each day in Australia, two of those patients will sadly pass away in hospital while four of them will have to begin living in aged care.

A broken hip in the elderly can also have an impact on your physical and social well-being. Most old people who suffer a hip fracture will experience a loss of mobility, a blow to their independence and a reduction in the amount of social interaction that they enjoy.

The long-term consequences are grave, too, and the majority of patients will see a significant deterioration in terms of their ability to walk. Seven of those forty patients will unfortunately pass away too, given that hip fractures can have a serious impact on overall health.

Treating Hip Fractures: The Options

Once a patient suffers a hip fracture, they will be sent to the hospital to undergo an x-ray to assess the damage and condition of the hip. The patient will also be assessed in terms of their cognition and pain level.

From here, three-quarters of those patients will undergo the hip replacement surgery. One-quarter of those patients will not undergo surgery according to factors like their own personal wishes and whether or not the operation would pose a significant risk to their health.

Of course, the surgery for a broken hip in the elderly has the potential to significantly improve the prognosis of the patient while boosting their longevity and quality of life. In fact, data shows that if the patient is able to resume physical activity as quickly as possible after undergoing the surgery, they will reduce their potential for mortality.

Studies also show that patients should try to engage socially with the people around them to improve their prognosis. It’s also important that patients practice regaining their motor function and strength while focusing on their diet – this will improve the likelihood that they will be able to walk within six months of the surgery.

Unfortunately, the recovery for a broken hip in the elderly can often be complex. Some patients may find that the fracture can lead to internal bleeding or infection which can lead to mortality. Pre-existing conditions can also lead to death and complications arising from the surgery have the potential to be fatal.

Reducing the Frequency of Hip Fractures

The risk of hip fractures can be mitigated in two ways: preventing falls and building resilience against them.

Focusing on these two areas, elderly people can rely on the following strategies:

  • Perform regular workouts to improve balance
  • Take measures to improve bone density
  • Install safety equipment throughout the home
  • Focus on maintaining a healthy diet
  • Remove trip hazards
  • Review medications to avoid dizziness
  • Purchase a personal alarm to notify others after a fall

The last point is particularly important, given that response time plays an important part in determining the outcome for many patients.

MePACS personal alarms offers a response service monitored by trained professionals at all times of the day and night. As the team can assess the level of help that you need in an emergency situation, they can call 000 in the event of a fall and get the most essential help to you as soon as possible.

To find out more about the MePACS emergency response service, call our friendly sales team on 1800 685 329 or visit Home And Mobile Alarms

 

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