What to Expect in the ER if Your Senior Parent Breaks a Hip

If you are an adult child of an aging parent, you must be generally versed in various matters associated with your mother or father’s medical care. This includes a basic understanding of what is likely to happen following one or more common medical issues a senior can face. High on the list is what you can anticipate happening as the adult child of a senior who ends up in an emergency room as a result of a suspected broken hip.

Senior Broken Hip Stats and Facts

As discussed at the outset of this article, a broken hip is one of the most dangerous conditions that seniors can suffer from. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hip fractures are among the most common causes of disability, hospitalization, and death among people over 65 years old in the United States. Here are five important statistics about seniors and broken hips that you will want to bear in mind regarding your aging mother or father (and, ultimately, even for yourself):

  1. Around 300,000 Americans aged 65 years or older suffer a hip fracture yearly. One out of every three women and one out of every five men will experience such an injury after reaching the age of 65.
  2. The risk of a hip fracture increases with age, especially after 85 years old, when half of all hip fractures occur in people over 85 years old.
  3. About 20 percent of individuals who suffer from a hip fracture will need long-term or permanent care due to their injury. In addition, a person’s risk for developing complications such as pneumonia or blood clots significantly increases after suffering a broken bone in their hip region.
  4. Approximately 95 percent of all hip fractures are caused by falling to the ground and landing on one’s side or bottom, most commonly due to tripping over something or losing balance while walking on uneven surfaces or stairs.
  5. There are several preventive measures that seniors can take to reduce their chances of suffering from a broken hip, including getting regular exercise to strengthen their muscles and bones, making sure their living environment has proper lighting, using assistive devices like walkers and canes when necessary, wearing appropriate shoes with rubber soles for firm grip, improving balance with Tai Chi exercises, avoiding carrying heavy objects when possible, and talking to their doctor about recommended vaccinations such as influenza and pneumococcal vaccines which may reduce the risk for falls due to illness or frailty caused by infection.

Signs and Symptoms of a Broken Hip

An adult child needs to be aware of the most common signs and symptoms of a broken hip in senior women or men. According to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, the most commonplace signs of a hip fracture are:

  • Inability to get up from a fall or to walk
  • Severe pain in the hip or groin
  • Inability to put weight on the leg on the side of the injured hip
  • Bruising and swelling in and around the hip area
  • Shorter leg on the side of the injured hip
  • Outward turning of the leg on the side of the injured hip

Inside the ER: What to Expect

Every emergency room experience is different in a situation involving a senior who has broken a hip. With that said, if you find yourself facing a situation in which your parent is being taken to an emergency room with a suspected broken hip, seven important things can occur in the emergency department of a hospital in this type of situation:

  1. Medical professionals will move quickly when a senior is brought into an emergency room with a broken hip to assess the situation and begin treatment. The first step is to take vital signs and evaluate the elderly patient’s mental status. This assessment can help doctors determine the level of pain the senior may be in and any underlying conditions or health issues that could complicate their recovery. Depending on the severity of the injury, imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs may be ordered to analyze the damage further and offer an accurate diagnosis.
  2. After a diagnosis has been made, medication will likely be administered to reduce pain and inflammation while providing comfort to the patient. During this time, staff will also ensure safety by transferring seniors from uncomfortable positions and helping them move around to avoid further injury or complications.
  3. Once stabilized, physicians may opt for surgery, if necessary, to repair any fractures or other bone damage associated with a broken hip. In addition, physical therapists can help seniors regain range of motion and strength before returning home by providing therapeutic exercises during their hospital stay.
  4. Before leaving, doctors will provide instructions for at-home care, including taking prescribed medications regularly and following up with specialists like orthopedists or geriatricians after discharge from the hospital. A dietitian may also come in handy when managing a healthy nutrition regimen that supports healing time post-surgery or trauma caused by a fall related to mobility issues.
  5. Senior patients should also receive education regarding how they can prevent future falls to protect themselves against similar injuries down the road; this may include suggestions like installing grab bars in bathrooms, avoiding slippery surfaces when possible, wearing proper footwear during indoor/outdoor activities, and more supervised assistance with transfers between beds/chairs/wheelchairs throughout their recovery process.
  6. Family members of seniors who experience hip fractures can make life easier after recovery by helping coordinate follow-up appointments for physical therapy or other specialist visits before being released from the hospital; additionally, having an advocate present during doctor visits can help ensure that all questions are answered correctly and provide emotional support for those who are coping with long-term effects of their injury such as chronic pain management or decreased mobility.
  7. Lastly, hospice care services can also be beneficial if needed. They often provide emotional support for families facing end-of-life care decisions and assist with palliative treatments like massage therapy, which helps soothe muscle aches due to limited movement associated with hip fracture recovery. Likewise, music therapy sessions have been proven helpful in easing anxiety levels among elderly patients who struggle to adjust back into familiar routines after extended hospital stays due to serious injury or illness such as a broken hip.

In conclusion, all seniors need to be aware that they have an increased risk of experiencing a broken bone in their hips once they reach 65 years old. However, there are several steps they can take to reduce this risk and remain safe while living independently at home. By investing in preventive measures such as regular exercise programs designed specifically for elderly people and getting recommended vaccinations against illnesses that could potentially cause them to fall more easily, seniors can help protect themselves against this common but potentially very serious injury while maintaining an active lifestyle into their later years of life.