Question:Mother fell and broke her hip last week. She's still in the hospital after surgery. We are preparing everything for her return home. But what's the prognosis for an injury of this kind? What should we expect?
Answer:Hip fracture in the older adult is common and can be very disabling. Early surgery and rehab seem to make a difference. But studies show that the prognosis is really made four to 12 months after surgery. A week (even a month) after surgery is too soon to tell.
There are some pre-op factors to consider. Research shows that the age, general physical and mental health, and nutritional status before hip fracture may likely determine the final outcome.
As might be expected, older adults who are inactive and who have other health concerns (e.g., diabetes, heart disease) may not get back to their previous level of daily activity. Those who are active and healthy before surgery have a better chance of recovery.
Many patients simply do not regain their previous abilities and may not even walk again. Up to half of all older adults who fracture their hips end up in a nursing home or extended care facility despite every effort at rehab.Hiroyasu Ogawa, MD, et al. Analysis of Muscle Atrophy After Hip Fracture in the Elderly. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabiliation. February 2008. Vol. 89. No. 2. Pp. 329-332.
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