Therapist walking outside with rehabilitation resident using walker

Prevention and Treatment for Broken Hip in Elderly Patients

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), each year there are more than 300,000 seniors aged 65 and older who are hospitalized for a hip fracture, with a majority of those cases occurring among elderly women (approximately 80%). Hip fractures are even more common among elderly individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. So, how can you protect yourself or your senior loved one from sustaining a hip fracture?

How Do You Prevent Hip Fractures in the Elderly?

Osteoporosis and falls are two of the most common causes of hip fractures in elderly individuals. As you age, your bones tend to weaken due to osteoporosis, and when combined with certain medications or declines in vision and balance, a fall is more likely to present a higher risk of fracture to your weakened bones.

One way to mitigate the risk of fracturing a hip is to prevent osteoporosis from setting in as quickly. While you can’t do anything about certain risk factors for osteoporosis – such as age or gender – you can take the following steps to prevent bone density loss:

  1. Make sure you are getting adequate levels of calcium and vitamin D in your diet. You might consider taking supplements for these nutrients if your diet does not provide enough of one or the other; however, always clear supplement use with your doctor first.
  2. Continue to be physically active and include weight-bearing exercises in your daily routine. Weight-bearing exercises (walking, included!) help prevent bone loss. Physical inactivity can lead to weakened muscles and bones, putting you at a higher risk for a fall and fracture.
  3. Avoid tobacco and alcohol, as they can interrupt the bone-building and maintenance processes, which can cause bone loss.
  4. Get chronic medical conditions under control. Certain endocrine and intestinal disorders can lead to bone loss; be sure you are taking the proper medication to keep your illness under control and avoid bone density loss.

In addition to preventing osteoporosis, which makes fracture more likely, you should also aim to mitigate your risk of falling. Talk to your doctor about your medication list, as certain medications (or combinations of medications) can make you more prone to dizziness and falling. You should also be aware of any safety hazards in your home: Ensure your rooms are well lit and decluttered, and safeguard against falls by installing safety rails in hallways or bathrooms.

Treating Senior Hip Fractures

If you or your loved one does fracture a hip, you might be wondering what is the treatment for broken hips in the elderly? For a broken hip, elderly prognosis for recovery varies based on how quickly treatment is administered – and the sooner, the better! Complications of hip fractures can be life-threatening: Senior adults have a 5-8 times higher risk of death in the three months following a hip fracture compared to those without a hip fracture due to serious complications like blood clots in the legs, which stem from immobility following the fracture. Developing a safe, effective therapy plan to get you moving again is essential to avoiding such complications.

Treatment for a hip fracture depends on the type of fracture you experience: a femoral neck fracture, for which surgery is almost always needed to facilitate recovery, or an intertrochanteric fracture. It is most likely that your doctor will recommend surgery as a treatment regardless of the fracture, but on rare occasions – such as when the patient is terminally ill or too weak to endure surgery, or if they couldn’t walk before the fracture occurred – a doctor may recommend treatment without surgery. This might include a treatment plan consisting of pain management and physical therapy, along with other types of recommended therapies.

Special attention should also be paid to avoiding issues of sepsis, which is one of the leading causes of death following this type of injury. In this case, sepsis is most likely caused by mishandling of soft tissue, infection caused by issues of sterilization or cleanliness during the surgery itself, an extended hospital stay or lack of family support, or dementia, which is often correlated with subpar surgical wound care. It’s incredibly important, then, to make sure you choose the right care team to handle your post-surgical recovery. Rehabilitation clinics, especially those geared toward senior rehabilitation – like Stratford Commons Rehabilitation & Health Care Center – offer individualized care to help you recover more quickly.

Hip Fracture Recovery and Rehabilitation at Stratford Commons Rehab

Recovering from a hip fracture can be a lengthy process. After your surgery, you’ll likely remain in the hospital for monitoring for a few days and then move to a rehabilitation facility following your discharge. To speed up your hip fracture recovery timeline, be sure to choose a rehab community that best suits your needs. Especially for the elderly, broken hip life expectancy rates remain higher among those who are well cared for after discharge. Not sure how to choose a rehab facility for your post-surgical care? Check out our blog to understand how rehab for seniors works, as well as to learn the top five things to look for when choosing a senior care community.

At Stratford Commons Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, our experienced care team will work with you or your senior loved one to develop a personalized care plan, integrating specialized physicians or therapists as recommended by your general physician. Our Lotus Surgery Recovery & Rehabilitation program combines holistic wellness programming with the high-quality conventional health care you deserve. We offer furnished private suites and baths, with state-of-the-art exercise equipment to help enhance your recovery process, all in a fall-safe environment.

Contact us today to learn more. Call 913-851-0215 – we look forward to answering your questions!