Preventing hip fractures and increasing the rate of recovery must be a top priority in all nursing homes across the United States. A recent study published in the medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine discusses the survival rates of nursing home residents after having a hip fracture surgery. The study used data from nursing homes and Medicare claims totally roughly 60,000 nursing homes residents who had been hospitalized for a hip fracture during the years of 2005 to 2009. The study’s objective was to get hard evidence on both the mortality rate and the decline in activities of daily living for residents of nursing homes who had received surgery for a hip fracture. The lead author of the study, Dr. Mark D. Neuman, from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reported that six months after surgery one in three patients had died with 28 percent of those who had survived became newly dependent on others for basic care. As a Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing home injury specialist I am well aware of the dangers of neglect in a nursing home setting. Falls in particular pose a real threat to individuals’ ability to live mobile self-sufficient lives.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the number of hip fractures will online likely rise as the population continues to age. Approximately 95 percent of all hip fractures occur because of a serious fall normally onto one’s side. At the centennial annual meeting for the Clinical Orthopaedic Society Dr. Erika J. Mitchell addressed the mortality rate and severity of hip fractures in the geriatric population. Dr. Mitchell bringing to light the scope of the problem stated that, “Statistically speaking, up to half of all women will have fragility fractures in their lifetime, and up to a third of all men.” Further stating, “Far more people will have a fragility fracture than will have a heart attack, cancer, or stroke.” Once one fracture occurs the chance of a second fracture within 3 to 5 years is nearly 50 percent.
According to the CDC one in five patients will die within a year of having hip fracture surgery with a large portion of those deaths attributable to complications from the surgery. Pneumonia after a hip fracture can increase the patient’s mortality rate by as much as 43 percent. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become porous and thus more susceptible to factures after sustaining a fall effects over 10 million people in the United States with another 34 million at risk of the disease. Helping to strengthen your bones into old age can reduce the chance of suffering a hip fracture, but there are other steps as well that both nursing homes and health advocates should take into consideration when working with aging patients.
If you or your loved one takes both prescribed and over the counter medication including supplements inform your doctor of all of your medicines to ensure that no drug interactions are causing dizziness or balance issues. Make nursing home residents eyesight is checked every year as loss of eyesight steady increases with age. Throw rugs and other trip inducing items should be cleared to ensure a path that is free from obstructions. Added guardrails around a tub and toilet can also help reduce instances of falls. Sometimes in nursing homes falls occur because a resident is tired of waiting for assistance often verging on neglect and instead independently tries to go about their daily activities without assistance leading to a severe fall or other injury. Nursing home staff levels play a vital role in the safety and wellbeing of the nursing home residents. When choosing a nursing home facility make sure to look to the staff levels and frequency in staff overturn.
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