Walking aid use after discharge following hip fracture is rarely reviewed and often inappropriate: an observational study

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Thomas, Susie
Halbert, Julie Anne
Cameron, Ian D
Whitehead, Craig Hamilton
Miller, Michelle Deanne
Crotty, Maria
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Copyright © Australian Physiotherapy Association 2010
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Australian Physiotherapy Association
Questions What walking aid prescription occurs at discharge after hip fracture? What changes in walking aid use occur in the following six months? Who initiates changes in walking aids and why? Design Prospective longitudinal observational study. Participants 95 community-dwelling older adults who had undergone surgical treatment of a hip fracture. Outcome measures Range of walking aids prescribed at discharge and participants’ recall of advice about progression were recorded. Progression of walking aids was observed fortnightly over 6 months. With any change in walking aid use, an independent physiotherapist determined if it was appropriate and participants reported the reason for the change. Results Most participants were discharged from their final inpatient setting with a wheeled frame (92%). Eighty-two (86%) participants were not aware of any goals set by the physiotherapist for the first 6 months and 89 (94%) stated that a review time had not been set. Despite this, 78 (82%) participants changed their walking aid, on average 8 weeks (SD 6) after discharge. However, 32% of those who changed their walking aids were using an inappropriate aid or using it incorrectly. Six months after discharge, 40% of participants had not returned to using their pre-morbid indoor aid and 50% their outdoor aid. Conclusion A review of walking aid by a physiotherapist is rare within six months after discharge following hip fracture. Most patients make their own decision about what walking aid is most appropriate. This has safety implications in a group at high risk of falls.
Copyright © Australian Physiotherapy Association 2010 Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND). For non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, and to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), as long as they credit the author(s) and provided they do not alter or modify the article.
Walking aid, Hip fracture, Frail elderly, Physiotherapy
Thomas, S., Halbert, J., Mackintosh, S., Cameron, I. D., Kurrle, S., Whitehead, C., … Crotty, M. (2010). Walking aid use after discharge following hip fracture is rarely reviewed and often inappropriate: an observational study. Journal of Physiotherapy, 56(4), 267–272. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1836-9553(10)70010-2