A study led by Mark Neuman, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine’s Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care has found that hip fractures, which occur more than 300,000 times per year among elderly adults in the United States, can result in a loss of independence and higher rates of death in older adults.
According to the study, which was conducted using data from Medicare claim files and the Nursing Home Minimum Data set reported to Medicare, these fractures are often caused by falls, osteoporosis, or a combination of both, and are more likely to occur in elderly individuals living in nursing homes rather than residents of elderly communities. Furthermore, the study found that fractures affecting residents of nursing homes often fare worse than fractures affecting residents of elderly communities, with more than 21,000 of the 60,000 patients with hip fractures dying within 180 days of their incident.
The researchers concluded that this is due to the fact that patients’ with fractured hips ability to perform daily living activities had declined across the board, and was only worsened by some patients’ severe cognitive impairments. According to the study, patients with cognitive impairments were 1.66 times more likely to die as a result of their fracture, and patients over 90 were less likely to survive the fracture than other patients. Patients who did not undergo an operation for hip repair fared similarly, as they were 1.48 times more likely to die or require total dependence on another for mobility than patients who did undergo a corrective operation.
The study, which was funded by the National Institute on Aging and published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, suggests that care planning should involve extra precautions for elderly people who have experienced hip fractures, with special consideration given to patients who are older than 90 with hip fractures, as well as preventative measures for patients with increased fall risks. See full article here.