Broken Hip

For many, entering into a nursing home facility is often meant as a short-term solution until they are able to rehabilitate and go back to their own homes. Unfortunately, for many, this eventuality may not ever become reality due to life altering accidents or abuse that result in broken hips.

Broken Bones and the Elderly

While younger people heal relatively quickly from broken bones, elderly people have a much more difficult recovery process due to bones being more brittle and taking longer to heal. Hip fractures are especially troublesome for those over the age of 65. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that there are around 300,000 people in this age group who suffer from a broken hip each year. Of those, 20 to 30% will be dead within 12 months of the injury, and many others show a significant decrease in their functional abilities. Some of the other statistics concerning broken hips include:

  • 90% of those injured who were able to climb stairs without assistance prior to their injury can’t climb even five stairs afterwards.
  • 66% of those who suffer a fractured hip won’t be able to use the toilet without help
  • 50% of suffers will no longer be able to lift themselves up from a chair
  • 31% will require assistance to get out of their beds
  • 20% will no longer be able to put on pants without someone to help them

The consequences of a broken hip are staggering and leave many wondering why a simple broken bone causes so many problems. In the elderly, this is often due to other health conditions that are present, as well as the immobility and risks that accompany surgery. Other significant factors that play a key role in the outcomes after a broken hip include how quickly the injury is treated and how well the senior responds to the recovery afterwards, which includes enduring intense and painful physical therapy. While some seniors are able to continue the process on their own, others simply don’t receive the support and care they need to overcome the fracture.

Main Causes of Broken Hips in the Elderly

The main causes of broken hips in the elderly are slips and falls. In a nursing home environment, slips and falls are common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that the average 100-bed nursing home reports 100 to 200 falls each year and that around 1,800 patients who fall die from their injuries.

There are many reasons that seniors in nursing homes may fall. Their muscles are weaker, they have more problems walking, and many have difficulty moving from one place to another. However, these problems are often exacerbated by negligence within the nursing home.

Of the reported falls each year, around 27% are due to environmental hazards. Some of the most common hazards include:

  • Inadequate lighting
  • Wet floors
  • Wheelchairs and beds that are not properly fitted to the patient
  • Improper monitoring and not providing assistance

Each of these hazards is preventable, and they are considered nursing home neglect when a patient is injured.

Nursing Home Abuse and Broken Hips

Another consideration in seniors who have a broken hip is nursing home abuse. This is a growing problem throughout the country and one that can result in broken bones depending on the severity. If a senior is hit or pushed, it can cause him or her to fall, which can easily cause a broken hip or other injuries.

Broken hips in the elderly are serious, and when they occur due to nursing home abuse or negligence, you need to contact a lawyer for assistance to determine your rights in the situation.

Sources:

http://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-10-2011/hip-fractures-survival.html

http://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Falls/nursing.html

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