Dad fell and broke his hip for the second time last week. The first break occurred last Christmas. He's had surgery but he seems much slower coming out of it this time. We think he may be showing some early signs of dementia. Could this be the reason for his slow recovery?
Age, mental function, and general health at the time of a hip fracture are key factors in recovery for older adults. Preinjury walking ability and physical function are also important. And these were likely affected for your father by the first fracture.
Setbacks are common in the elderly after hospitalization for serious illness or injury. Early, subtle signs of cognitive changes may become more obvious under the influence of stress, fatigue, and medications. The patient's recovery pattern may vary from the first hospitalization to the next.
Hip fractures in particular are notorious for creating permanent disability among previously independent adults. Half of all adults over the age of 65 with a first hip fracture do not return home. Instead, they remain institutionalized in a skilled nursing or extended care facility.
The presence of dementia is a risk factor for prolonged recovery and failure to return to an independent living situation. But sometimes what looks like dementia is nothing more than the adverse effects of medication and drug interactions. Something as simple as dehydration can also be a significant factor.
Your father's delay in recovery may not be as obvious to the nursing and hospital staff. As family members, your awareness of such changes is important. Feel free to bring your concerns to the case manager, social worker, physician, or nurse assigned to your father. This could speed up an early diagnosis of a potential problem and bring about a faster recovery.
Amer N. Al-Ani, MD, et al. Early Operation on Patients with a Hip Fracture Improved the Ability to Return to Independent Living. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. July 2008. Vol. 90-A. No. 7. Pp. 1436-1442.
*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.