Study: Outpatient and weight therapies help hip fracture patients recover

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An extra six months of supervised outpatient rehabilitation helps elderly hip fracture patients recover faster, says a Washington University School of Medicine study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Elderly people with hip fractures can also benefit from progressive resistance weight training. It was previously believed they were too frail for such exercise.

Ninety elderly hip fracture patients who had just completed the standard course of home-based therapy were divided into two groups: supervised and unsupervised. Both groups of patients were prescribed standard dosages of calcium and vitamin D replacement therapy, to help strengthen bones.

The supervised group did exercises to improve flexibility, balance, coordination, motor speed and strength in the first six months and weight training in the second. The second group received instructions and brief training in exercises they did at home for the first six months, but did not have any weight training.

The patients who received the supervised therapy showed much more improvement than those who did the home-based therapy.