The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health has come out with policy guidance on the use of hip protectors for long-term care and the message is simple … use them and hip fractures can be dramatically decreased.
50% of long-term care residents fall at least once each year and 40% fall two times or more annually resulting in serious injury up to 25% of the time. One in five will not survive past the first year following a hip fracture. Quality of life can be substantially reduced for those who survive and can range from inability to perform daily activities independently to chronic pain issues.
CADTH recommendations include the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis and prevention of the fall to begin with, however the use of hip protectors was found to be a “cost-effective treatment option for women older than 70 years of age living in LTC.” (“Hip Protectors in Long-Term Care: A Clinical and Cost-Effectiveness Review and Primary Economic Evaluation” CADTH 2010)
While acknowledging that compliance is an issue, findings indicate compliance ranges from 24% to 92% with a median of 56% which is probably higher than most people would guess. Not surprisingly, higher compliance is aligned with staff compliance for the facility hip protector program.
Also noted in the report is that not all hip protectors are created equal. There is an absence of standards for hip protectors so buyer beware. Doing some homework around biomechanical data, clinical study as well as researching what other jurisdictions are doing can pay dividends. HipSaver Canada is proud to note that a comprehensive look at dozens of hip protector brands conducted at SFU in British Columbia resulted in two brands being supported for use within the Fraser Health Authority with HipSaver Hip Protectors being one of them. FHA policies around brand use are being adopted by other health authorities across Canada. Why reinvent the wheel?
Policy guidelines advise that consideration be given to using hip protectors within long term care settings for residents who have been assessed as at risk, that criteria be developed for assessing who is at risk, that staff work with all stakeholders (including residents and their families) to choose the most appropriate hip protectors on an individual basis and that an appropriate number of hip protectors be provided to allow for 24/7 use. The recommendation is that 7 units be provided annually.
HipSaver Hip Protectors offer nine models available in six sizes. Give our office a call at our toll free line ( 1-888-771-0977 ) and we’d be happy to offer recommendations for your residents.
To read the entire report visit the CADTH website.