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Hip fractures make nursing home deaths more likely

The elderly are prone to injuries and illnesses. For this reason, nursing homes are responsible for giving proper care and treatment for patients in order to help reduce the possibility of injuries, diseases and death. However, nursing homes, including those in Pennsylvania, should pay extra attention to residents who suffer from a hip fracture. According to a new study, hip fractures often result in permanent disability and nursing home deaths.

The research was derived from Medicare claims and over 60,000 cases of hip fractures in nursing homes from 2005 to 2009. The lead author of the study described the results of hip fracture cases as "very bad" in terms of survival. Although residents who sustain the injury are able to move around in their own accord or with minimal help at the onset, their condition deteriorates considerably after several months. One in three residents hospitalized for the injury die. Men suffer the most, with almost half dying following the injury.

Twenty-eight percent of the residents who survived became completely dependent on others to move around. This resulted in a decline in personal hygiene, toilet use and the ability to move in bed independently. Residents who were 90 years old or older and who did not undergo surgery had the worst outcomes in terms of survival. The study highlighted another point that may prove disturbing for families who have loved ones in nursing homes; half of residents in nursing homes who sustain hip fractures die, as compared to 20 percent of elderly people who suffered the same injury, but who are not in nursing homes.

Pennsylvania families who have a loved one in a nursing home should carefully assess how the institution cares for their elderly relative, especially when the resident is ill or injured. Nursing home abuse could be the cause of a resident's worsened condition or death. In such a situation, a family may be able to hold the nursing home liable for its misconduct or neglect.

Source: Fox News, "Death or immobility often follows hip fractures in nursing homes," June 25, 2014

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