The Long-Term Effects of Slip and Fall Injuries in Nursing Homes
Slip and fall injuries in nursing homes can have long-term consequences that that are not always immediately realized. The impact of these injuries can lead to permanent mobility issues and even death in some cases.
JAMA International Medicine recently published a study which found half of nursing home residents who fall and suffer a hip fracture either lose mobility completely or die. The results were based on a four-year study that observed over 60,000 nursing home residents. Residents who were above the age of 90 and those who opted not to undergo surgery were most likely to become permanently disabled or pass away.
Before the hip fracture, the majority of the residents observed in this study were able to get around on their own. However, just six months after being hospitalized one in three of the residents had died. Nearly half the residents had passed away one year after the injury.
Those who did not pass away most likely suffered from some form of disability. In fact, 30% of surviving residents were forced to depend on others to get in and out of bed and to perform personal hygiene tasks. As a result, these residents were forced to spend the majority of their time in bed and were unable to participate in many nursing home activities. This lack of activity greatly increased their risks of developing other health conditions.
What can we learn from this study? There’s an urgent need to take greater steps to prevent slips and falls in nursing homes. Furthermore, families of residents who suffer hip fractures from falls will likely not return to their pre-injury health. Encouraging residents to undergo surgery can also help minimize the negative impact of this injury.
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When left untreated, hip fractures can be exceptionally painful. Surgery can not only improve mobility, but also help extend the resident’s life. Approximately 12% of the observed residents elected not to undergo surgery, and those individuals were at great risk of dying from their injuries. Family support is especially crucial following a slip and fall injury, and the encouragement of opting for surgery can go a long way in improving the resident’s quality of life.