An Aging Population

Stamp of Approval
According to Kathleen Friesen, Geriatric Services Director for the Fraser Health Authority, seniors will be 25% of the total population by 2025. The falls and injuries statistics will rise accordingly. We agree with Fabio Feldman, Fraser Health’s Manager of Seniors Fall and Injury Prevention, that we need to start thinking in terms of prevention. We have long held the belief that hip protectors should be subsidized in whole or in part by provincial health care agencies and insurance companies. Not just because it would save this country’s health care system a TON of money in immediate and long term costs but also because those who suffer hip fractures may suffer profound and, in some cases, devastating consequences. There is ample Canadian work (Fraser Health Authority, Calgary Health Region, some new data being compiled in the Aspen Regional Health Authority and the May 2008 Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health publication) to suggest that the use of hip protectors has a direct effect on the hip fracture rate. Apart from whatever bureaucratic roadblocks such an idea might face is the fact that there are no standards for hip protectors in this country. That issue could be resolved by the recommendations of a credible committee or group of front line workers in the health care industry who would work to establish standards for hip protectors which would include biomechanical testing, clinical study, pad positioning and the ability to withstand 200 institutional laundry cycles in accordance with infection control procedures. It goes without saying that the credibility of the group would be undermined by participation from hip protector manufacturers or anyone with a commercial interest in any given brand who would certainly have an interest in seeing that the standards would accommodate their brand. At the end of it all, each brand would either meet the standards set or not. While every brand is entitled to be in the marketplace, only those that meet or exceed the standards would be eligible for reimbursement. Sounds simple, eh? We may not be able to reduce the number of falls experienced by an aging population but we could have a positive impact on the number of hip fractures.

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