If you are older than 60 and have suffered a hip fracture, it’s important to consider all of your options for rehabilitation. Hip injuries in older people can either lead to worsening health or improved function and strength. It all depends on what you do immediately after the hip injury, which is usually repaired by surgery. Among the most common causes of reduced mobility and disability for older people, hip injuries can result in an overall health decline if the recovery process doesn’t include extensive physical therapy. However, those senior citizens who do begin a rehabilitation program almost immediately after hip surgery can often experience improved mobility, range of motion, balance and endurance.
Get out of Bed as Soon as Possible After Surgery
Being immobilized in bed after hip surgery causes serious complications, especially if you have another health issue such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Complications following hip surgery include blood clots, pneumonia, wound infections, and more — all of which can be prevented or reduced with physical activity. If you don’t get up and get moving as quickly as possible, the odds are that you’ll not only get sicker, but also be left with a disability, like not being able to walk without assistance, not being able to climb stairs, or needing assistance with toileting, bathing and dressing. This decrease in independence usually results in the loss of other physical function and a rapid descent toward premature death.
If your hip surgery was to address a previous tissue or bone damage problem from failed implants or other complications, it is even more critical that you embark on a physical therapy program as soon as possible. This is because implant debris can cause serious inflammatory complications such as osteolysis and metallosis — both of which can further impede your recovery.
Begin Physical Therapy Right Away
You will most likely be encouraged to begin your physical therapy while you are still in the hospital. Patients usually remain in the hospital anywhere from 3-7 days following hip surgery. The physical therapy staff will set goals with you to achieve. You’ll be encouraged to move from your hospital bed to a chair several times the first day after surgery. Then you’ll begin getting up and walking using your crutches or walker. However, you may need to keep from placing too much weight on your foot while you stand or walk. You’ll be safe to go home when you can get up and move about safely with your walker or crutches, you are able to do your exercises, and your caregiver has made all the needed preparations for you to go home.
Know your Rehabilitation Options
Upon your discharge from the hospital, you will need to choose whether you want to do in-patient rehabilitation, out-patient physical therapy, or get therapy at home. Outpatient or home therapy is better than no therapy at all, but you’ll get the best hip surgery rehabilitation results with in-patient services in a rehabilitation center. Much better-equipped to provide seniors with the intensive therapy that optimal recovery demands, rehabilitation facilities are staffed with experts and use state-of-the-art equipment. The staff works together to:
- Direct and aid patients in complete recovery
- Ensure that patients are engaging in safe and effective exercise
- Help patients work toward optimum mobility
- Provide patients with proven strategies to continue rehabilitation work at home
Keep Moving for a Better Life
A report from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) says that the period immediately after a hip injury is “hazardous”. Even after you stop seeing a physical therapist, be sure to do your exercises and physical activity regularly at home. Make physical therapy a part of your daily routine to keep your mobility and independence as long as possible.
Evergreen provides an extensive list of rehabilitation services to patients in the Winchester Va area. Find out more here, or call us for more information at (540) 667-7010