Falling is one of the biggest health threats seniors face. According to the CDC, “one out of four older people falls every year.” To make matters worse, if a senior falls once, their chance of falling again doubles. While not every fall causes injury, each year 300,000 seniors suffer hip fractures, caused mostly by falls. Unfortunately, this is where the statistics get very scary. A recent study found that one in three adults over age 50 who suffer a hip fracture will die within 12 months. In addition, adults with hip fractures have a five to eight times higher risk of dying within the first three months after their injury compared to healthy adults. This increased risk of death lingers for nearly 10 years.
So what makes hip fractures so deadly for older people? In large part these injuries cause a rapid regression the patient’s overall health.
Common Hip Fracture Complications
A hip fracture brings reduced mobility which can cause a number of complications in older people. These include:
- Blood clots in the legs and lungs.
- Urinary tract infections
- Loss of muscle mass which can increase the risk of future falls.
Any one of these complications could cause a deadly chain of events in the body of a weakened older person. As it turns out, most seniors who die in the wake of broken hip ultimately succumb to pneumonia. Even those seniors who do survive, however, often lose the independence they enjoyed before their injury. According to the Mayo Clinic, “about half the people who have a hip fractures aren’t able to regain their ability to live independently.” Many go on to live in nursing facilities or with family caregivers.
Treatment and Recovery from Hip Fractures
There are two common types of hip fractures, which are typically repaired with surgery.
- Femoral Neck Fracture: The femoral neck sits directly below the ball of the hip joint. Because this type of injury can sometimes block blood flow, surgery is almost always conducted. In this instance, repair options include a partial or full hip replacement.
- Intertrochanteric Region Fracture: This injury fractures the hip between the trochanters where the muscles of the thigh and hip attach. To repair these injuries, surgeons set the bone and use a system of pins, metal plates and screws to hold them together.
Hospital stays after surgery typically last four to seven days. After discharge, some patients enter a rehabilitation facility for more intensive physical and occupational therapy. Physical therapy typically focuses on muscle re-education, strengthening exercises, balance retraining, and gait training. After four to six months of physical therapy, most patients gain back enough strength and confidence to begin more vigorous rehabilitation activities.
Statistics show that roughly 25% of hip fracture patients will return to their pre-fall levels of activity. However, 50% will be forced to use a walker or a cane to move around. Another 20% of hip fracture patients will go on to permanently live in a nursing home.
How In-Home Care Can Help Hip Fracture Patients
In the weeks and months immediately following a hip fracture, patients will struggle to move independently through their own home. That means they’ll also have difficulty performing other tasks of daily living like cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, and many basic self-care tasks. Thankfully, in these situations, in-home care can be extremely helpful both for the patient and for family caregivers who may be helping out. Caregivers can provide respite care, giving the primary family caregiver valuable time to rest, recharge, and tend to their own life. Caregivers can also provide daily care. This service may allow hip fracture patients to live independently in their own homes for longer as they recover.
If you or someone you love is recovering from a hip fracture in Arizona, Generations Home Care can help. Our trained caregivers work in our patient’s homes to provide non-medical help with the daily activities that become so difficult in the wake of injury or surgery. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care offers personalized in-home care and support services to those recovering from illness, injury or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier and independent life.
Generations Home Care offers levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. We take a holistic approach and emphasize a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term postoperative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.