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The efficacy of hip protectors in reducing hip fracture associated with falls in the elderly population

1 May 2007


1. Clinical Bottom Line:. Evidence currently demonstrates that hip protectors are effective in reducing the incidence of hip fracture following a fall in elderly people living in long term facilities, if clients wear them. However, compliance is a large problem with usage rates of only 16-70%.

2. Clinical Scenario: While working in a skilled nursing facility we were contacted by the director of nursing to comment on a policy decision the facility was making regarding the mandatory use of external hip protectors for all residents. We wished to review the literature and base our opinion on current studies regarding the prevention of hip fractures during falls while wearing and not wearing external hip protectors. We also planned to include research done on community dwelling participants in order to better make suggestions to patients leaving the facility who are at risk of falls.

3. Our clinically answerable question: Population: The population that we were focusing on elderly men and women living either in their homes or a care facility. Intervention: We wished to determine the efficacy of external hip protectors for reducing the rate of hip fractures during falls. Comparison: Our comparison group was a control group who did not wear external hip protectors. Outcome: We wished to measure outcomes through the rate of proximal femur fractures that occur while subjects are wearing hip protectors as compared to those occurring without protection.


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