Question:My 90-year old father slipped on some ice and fell. He broke his hip in two places. The doctors don't think he will be able to live independently again. How do they know this?
Studies show that 50 percent of all elderly patients with hip fractures are unable to live on their own after treatment. Only a third of these patients regain their prefracture level of function. Patients with previous spinal fractures from osteoporosis have poorer results.
The presence of dementia is also a risk factor for poor results. Rehab is more difficult when the patient has dementia. They are poorly motivated. They may be unable to understand the need to walk or do exercises. Many never finish the rehab program. Those who don't regain their ability to walk end up in a wheelchair or bedridden.
Despite these poor predictions, patients should be given every chance to recover as much as possible. A consistent approach and daily rehab focus can make a difference.Yoichiro Ishida, MD, PhD, et al. Factors Affecting Ambulatory Status and Survival of Patients 90 Years and Older with Hip Fractures. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. July 2005. Vol. 436. Pp. 208-215.
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