Hip fracture often leads to death or immobility of nursing home residents within 6 months, Penn study finds

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More than half of nursing home residents die or cannot walk within six months of sustaining a hip fracture, according to recently published findings from the from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine. More than a third of residents who suffered a hip fracture died within six months, the investigators found.

The study involved more than 60,000 Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized in nursing homes with hip fractures from 2005 to 2009.

Male residents or residents older than 90 with high levels of comorbidity and cognitive impairments were at greatest risk, lead author Mark D. Neuman, M.D., MSc, told McKnight's.

Results also showed “marked decreases” in various activities of daily living such as eating, bathing, dressing or moving in bed, said Neuman, assistant professor of anesthesiology and critical care at Perelman.

Compared to a study conducted in 2010, the percentage of residents with hip fractures who didn't receive surgery nearly doubled — reaching about 12%. While the reason for not getting surgery is unknown, it is worth investigating whether residents' choice or end-of-life status is behind the trend, Neuman noted.

“The priority is whether surgical care is delivered,” he said. “Residents should be cared for in a setting where people are able to have a lot of medical attention regardless of what their survival prognosis is.”

Results were published Monday in the online version of JAMA Internal Medicine.

Among seniors not living in a nursing home, about 1 in 5 dies within a year of a hip fracture, according to Sarah Berry of the Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for the Aged in Massachusetts. Berry was not affiliated with the Penn study but spoke about its implications with Reuters Health.

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