Only 31% of participants recovered to their prior function level.
Only 31% of participants recovered to their prior function level.

Less than half of seniors who suffer hip fractures will recover previous levels of function, according to a new study.

Despite rehabilitation provided to seniors who break hips, many of the nearly 300,000 older Americans who are hospitalized as a result of such fractures return home frailer and more dependent than they were before.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco examined how effective the traditional care models are at returning hip fracture patients to their prior levels of function.

The research team, led by Victoria Tang, M.D., compared the physical condition and functional levels of nearly 800 seniors before and after their hip fractures. 

Patients’ recoveries were measured by how they were able to care for themselves post-recovery, and do tasks such as bathing and dressing.

Only 31% of the patients studied returned to their prior level of functioning. The likelihood of recovering to a high level of function was even lower for patients older than 85, who had multiple comorbidities or had dementia.

“Given the low likelihood of older adults returning to their previous levels of physical function, usual rehabilitation care models should consider integration of supportive care services to meet the needs of older adults and caregivers,” Tang wrote. 

The study was in the Journal of General Internal Medicine