Life gets difficult even for a young person after a fracture. The chances are that you are bound to your home and depend on others even for simple daily activities. Now, imagine that you already have frail bones, a slow immune system, and a weak body. How difficult it would be for you to recover from a broken bone? That is why the news of a broken hip of an elderly relative tends to alarm bells.
One-third of adults aged 50 and above die within 12 months of experiencing a hip fracture. Beyond the extreme pain, a hip fracture results in compromised social life, increased reliance on others, and very low quality of life. For some people, the living conditions change so drastically that they have to move to an assisted living facility from their home. To ensure that such people do not lose hope towards life, the following steps should be taken.
Proper Surgical Management
The treatments are carried out with the purpose of stabilizing the hips, decrease pain, and bring back their proper function. This makes surgery a preferable treatment option because it decreases the complications, facilitates full weight-bearing, and provides stable fixation. It is also associated with quick recovery and a shorter stay at the hospital.
It is advised that surgical stabilization should be carried out within 48 hours. A surgery done within 24 hours of the injury minimizes the rate of chest infections, pressure sores, and urinary tract infections. Moreover, the quicker the patient is done with the surgery, the shorter is the hospital stay.
The statistics reveal only 25% mortality rates in a year after a hip fracture because of complications like pneumonia, blood clots, and infections. It is essential to move to an assisted living facility for a smooth recovery, where regular care is given so that there is no hindrance in bringing the person back to normal life.
Once a patient undergoes surgery, he stays in the hospital for 4 to 7 days depending on the recovery time following the specific surgery. During the stay, the occupational therapists are required to help the patient in speedy recovery. Such facilities are too expensive for home so if you know any of the chiropractors in Atlanta or any other city, you might ask them to visit you without charging a huge sum of money.
Malnutrition is a complication that affects up to 20% of the patients suffering from a hip fracture. A catabolic state may expose the patient to protein depletion which, in turn, leads to decreased healing and more postop complications. A protein supplement may be a good idea here as it helps in coping with the decreased nutritional intake of the patient.
The patient should be encouraged to an early return to eating. In case if the elderly use dentures, make sure that they are always available for them to take the feed. Nutritional assessments should also be done to ensure a high intake of calcium and vitamin D to prevent the risk of fracture in the future.
Prevent or Treat Delirium
A sudden change in the brain which causes emotional disruption and confusion is called delirium. It is one of the most common complications occurring in 62% of the older patients of hip fracture. A preexisting cognitive impairment is the highest predictor of delirium. Multiple other factors, including infection, electrolyte and volume imbalances, disturbances in sleep-wake cycles, and physical restraints, also contribute to delirium.
Delirium brings numerous other risks along with it like vision or hearing loss, concurrent alcohol abuse, and advanced age. It can be avoided by treating pain aggressively, reorienting the patients to their surroundings, and catheterizing as soon as possible to avoid the odds of a urinary tract infection.
Guard Against Venous Thromboembolism (VTE)
VTE refers to a blood clot in the vein, which can occur as a result of a severe hip bone injury. There are studies that have shown the rates of VTE to be as high as 40% to 60% after orthopedic procedures. The leading causes of VTE include surgery and prolonged hospitalization. Because of being bed-ridden for an increased period, such patients are susceptible to VTE.
It can prove to be quite dangerous as VTE is the third-leading cause of heart attack and stroke. With the right medications and diet, it can be treated. However, special attention should be given to the elderly because they are already suffering from a broken bone and have a frail body.
Focus on Mental Health
The inability to move around freely is enough to lead any person into depression. In addition to this, if you have to leave your house and settle in a nursing home for an identified period of time, the stress is escalated. Orthopedic trauma brings about a number of psychological effects that upset the quality of life.
The patients should be made to attend mental therapy sessions so that they can get help in dealing with stress and trauma. With an already weak body, it is hard for them to cope with the additional injury and the anxiety which comes with the lack of movement. Such patients should be given maximum family support and encouraged to meditate to relieve themselves from stress.
Apart from addressing the bone and muscular health of the patient, he should be provided with a friendly environment. Even in assisted living, he must be made to feel at home. The family members should play an active role in providing support to the patient to ensure an easy and speedy recovery.
The combination of the right diet, physical activity, and therapies can help in reducing the mortality rate in the elderly who suffer from hip fractures. It is important that the confidence and strength of the patient are also recovered along with the physical betterment. While the chances may be low of getting the previous life back, they are not diminished, so maximum effort should be made.