Rise in Seniors with High-Energy Fractures Needing Rehab

The number of hospitalizations and deaths for extremity fractures has decreased in seniors and especially women. However, these individuals are being hospitalized for other kinds of fractures reports McKnights. Skilled nursing facilities offering acute rehabilitation care should be prepared for therapy that will be required by these patients.

A study surveyed hospitalizations among seniors caused by fractures between the years 2003 and 2017. It was discovered the number of low-energy femur fractures decreased over the years. Most of the low-energy fracture hospitalizations occur because of falls from standing height.

The decline of cases in women ages 75 and over, could have been caused by bisphosphonates which are preventive osteoporosis drugs. Additionally, women have been using outpatient services instead of inpatient care at skilled nursing facilities.

Lisa Reider Ph.D. from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, reports that high-energy fractures are on a rise for men. These occur due to falls from high heights or car accidents. Additionally, men are also being more frequently hospitalized for multiple fractures. Researchers believe men are now more active in older age which could be causing these high-energy fractures.

An increase in tibia, fibula, foot, wrist, upper arm and shoulder fractures was noted in the study. About 80% of the hospitalizations were due to lower extremity fractures. Reider and colleagues stated the rise in “fracture hospitalization from high-energy injuries among men suggests that older adults with complex injuries will be seen with more prevalence in the future.” This is expected to cause an increase in the number of patients needing post-acute rehabilitation care.

Men and women ages 85 and older continue to have high number of hospitalizations caused by fractures overall.

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