Research indicates that most falls experienced by older adults happen during the daytime and are often caused by slippery floors and irregular surfaces. An estimated 20% of falls occur during the night and are most commonly experienced by the elderly, with about 30% experiencing a fall incidence once every year. It is well known that when an older adult experiences a fall, their likelihood of getting injured, having a hip-fracture, and even dying are higher than those of younger adults.
Hip fractures are highly prevalent among the elderly population in the United States. An estimated 1.6 million older adults (those over 50 years of age) experience a hip fracture every year. This type of injury causes severe debilitation and significantly hinders an individual’s ability to carry out activities of daily living (i.e. bathing, dressing). According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, hip fractures occur at least twice as often in elderly women than in elderly men, which have traditionally been attributed to women having lower bone density. However, new studies show that difference in bone density, and therefore osteoporosis, is not enough to explain the higher incidence of fractures in women than their male counterparts. Researchers sought to investigate other underlying factors that contribute to fracture, such as vulnerability of falling, especially due to the fact that 90% of hip fractures result from falls.
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that is highly prevalent within the older adult population. Often referred to as a silent disease due to its lack of clear outward symptoms, osteroporosis weakens bone structure and durability, increasing the risk of fractures. The areas of the hip, spine, and wrists are the most vulnerable to bone fracture. Some risk factors for osteoporosis are modifiable, such as poor diet and smoking, but others are non-modifiable, such as age. The risk of the disease increases as one grows older, starting in the late-30s.
Hip fractures are a common experience within the aging population and can become a primary cause of severe, often incessant functional debilitation in older adults. Moreover, hip fractures can significantly affect an older adult’s self-care abilities, causing increased dependency and significant loss of autonomy and wellbeing. Although some patients are able to regain almost full functional restoration, most continue to suffer from decline. It is well known that nutritional status is an important aspect of health status. Poor nutritional status in older adult patients usually is related to higher occurrences of complications, rehospitalizations, and mortality compared to those who are well-nourished. However, it is not clear how nutritional status prior to hip fracture affects an older adult patient’s functional recovery process postoperation from hip fracture. Thus, a recent study examined prefracture nutritional status in a sample of older adult patients with hip fracture to explore how this influenced functional recovery and the clinical course.
It is well known that frail older adults are highly vulnerable to fractures. In long-term care settings, the rate of fracture for older adults is more than double that of older adults living in community settings. Moreover, one third of older adults experience a hip fracture while living in long-term care. Not only are hip fractures one of the most critical consequences of osteoporosis, they are also one of the primary causes of hospital admissions. Residents who are returned to long-term care after hospitalization are in need of more specialized care.
Hip fractures (HFs) are highly prevalent among older adults and are a major cause of severe, often constant functional impairment. Those with HFs have diminished self-care abilities, causing increased disability and significant loss in independence and quality of life. Although there are those who are able to obtain complete functional restoration, most suffer from continuous decline. The caring of the average geriatric patient with HF calls for high hospital and long-term costs. Thus, it is important to identify factors that benefit or hinder regeneration to provide optimized treatment of all modifiable factors during rehabilitation. Malnutrition is very common among older hospitalized patients, with as many as 63% of geriatric patients with HF being malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.