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Nursing Home Hip Fractures Often Lead to Death or Loss of Mobility: Study

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania report that when nursing home residents fall and suffer a hip fracture, they are more likely to die or become completely disabled within six months.  

One out of every three nursing home residents who fall and fracture their hip die within six months after being hospitalized, according to the findings of a study published by the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine on June 23.

Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine looked at data from medicare and nursing homes on more than 60,000 long-term care residents hospitalized for hip fractures between 2005 and 2009. In most cases, they were fully mobile before their fall.

Six months after hip fractures had occurred, half of those who suffered the fractures were permanently disabled and had lost significant mobility and one-third had died, including almost half of the injured male residents. After a year, almost half of those who had suffered a hip fracture were dead.

Those statistics worsened when patients were not hospitalized following a fracture, the study found, particularly for patients over the age of 90.

“Survival and functional outcomes are poor after hip fracture among nursing home residents, particularly for patients receiving nonoperative management, the oldest old, and patients with multiple comorbidities and advanced cognitive impairment,” the researchers concluded. “Care planning should incorporate appropriate prognostic information related to outcomes in this population.”

Regulations already exist that require nursing homes to take action to prevent such injuries.

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.

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