When an elderly individual suffers a hip fracture, which may occur as a result of nursing home falls or falls in the home, they may face twice the risk of dying soon after when compared to their peers, according to the findings of new research.
In a study published in the March issue of the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers indicate that hip fractures were associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality among individuals over the age of 60.
Greek researchers looked at data from 122,808 elderly individuals from eight different studies from Europe and the U.S., with a mean of 12.6 years of follow-up. During that time, 4,273 incident hip fractures among individuals over the age of 60 were reported, as well as 27,999 deaths.
According to the findings, the risk of death among those who had suffered a hip fracture incident almost tripled during the first year following the fracture, and stayed at nearly double the rate of death of those who had not suffered hip fractures in the years that follow.
The findings suggest that the link between hip fractures and death was strongest among men.
Researchers found that post-operative complications were most commonly associated with the increased short-term risk of death following a hip fracture. This could be due to the risk of surgery involving the broken hip itself, or it could be complications arising from the lack of mobility caused by the fracture.
“In this large population-based sample of older persons across eight cohorts, hip fracture was associated with excess short- and long-term all-cause mortality in both sexes,” the researchers concluded.
In care settings, to reduce the risk of nursing home falls and other injuries, all facilities are required to have an assessment done when a resident enters the facility. The assessment should describe the functional capacity of the resident and evaluate their risk for falling. Based on this assessment, proper steps must be taken to supervise the resident and provide safety devices to prevent a fall injury.