Broken hips, or hip fractures, are the second leading cause of hospitalization in people aged 65 and over. Hip fractures can result from a simple fall—walking to the bathroom at night or falling out of bed or a chair. Unfortunately, broken hips also lead to a higher death rate, as the injury can cause many additional problems for the patient.
Broken Hips in Nursing Homes Overview
On average, approximately 300,000 people suffer from a broken hip in the United States every year. Broken hips in nursing homes frequently occur. Approximately 10% of 30,000 people suffer a fractured hip in nursing homes every year.
Several factors contribute to fractured hips, including:
- Age and gender
- Amount of medications taken
- Trip hazards in the nursing home or room
- Alcohol consumption
- Diseases like osteoporosis or dementia
Females sustain 75% of all hip fractures or broken hips.
Muscle weakness can occur when residents are less active. When muscles become weak they cannot protect the bones. Osteoporosis is another leading factor in broken hips. Osteoporosis is when the body makes too little or loses too much bone. In residents with osteoporosis, something like a strong sneeze can sometimes lead to broken bones.
Other risks factors that make residents more likely to undergo a broken hip include:
- Previous falls and fractures
- Impaired balance
- Poor health and nutrition
- Heavy drinking
One study noted that nearly all patients that came to the hospital after suffering a fall were dehydrated and fell while walking to the bathroom. Nursing home residents are at a greater risk for falls.
Primary risk factors for broken hips in nursing homes:
- Comorbidities (simultaneous presence of two or more chronic diseases or conditions in a patient)
One in five hip patients die within one year of the injury.
Loved ones should always check the side effects and potential drug interactions of medications to ensure they do not impair balance. Nursing home staff should have a plan in place for movement for and of the patient. As always, closely work with the doctor to ensure the patient has a decreased risk of falling.
Other key risk factors that can result in broken hips include:
- Physical abuse
- Impaired eyesight
- Early menopause
- Low body weight
- Calcium and/or vitamin D deficiency
33% of patients remain in a nursing home longer than one year after suffering a broken hip.
Effects of Broken Hips in Nursing Homes
Broken hips can lead to physical and emotional issues as well as short-term and long-term difficulties. In the short-term, patients may need to undergo surgery. When patients undergo surgery, their mobility may be impaired as they recover, leading to depression or malnutrition. More medications being added after surgery can also cause patients to become off-balance and unwilling to participate in rehabilitation.
After hip surgery, patients often get moved into nursing homes and out of hospitals quickly. The relocation increases the length of stay in nursing homes. The increase in stays in nursing homes adds pressure to nursing home staff who must increase their staffing levels to care for recovering residents. This understaffing translates to a higher risk of death in patients recovering from hip surgery.
One in every three nursing home residents will die within 180 days of a hip fracture, and one in every two male residents will die within the same time period.
Long-term issues resulting from broken hips include an increased chance of future falls and extended treatment by physical therapists. Hip fractures are serious injuries and depression is a common result.
Public Examples of Broken Hips in Nursing Homes
Below is a list of broken hips in nursing homes cases and the corresponding award amounts:
- Florida — $1,000,000
- Illinois — $842,801
- California — $573,026
- Michigan — $550,000
The total direct cost to Medicare of hip fractures in long-stay residents alone totals more than $665 million annually.
Nursing Home Abuse and Broken Hips
If you or a loved one has suffered a broken hip as a result of nursing home abuse or neglect there is legal assistance available. It is critical that you contact an attorney immediately after the injury occurs.
To find out if you have a case and to hold those responsible accountable, you can fill out a free case evaluation.