The effectiveness of the hip protector in preventing fall-related hip fractures / Markus Hubacher
Bern : BFU, 2000
(BFU Report; 44).
Descriptoren: falls. fractures. elderly (risk groups). elderly (target groups). hip protectors. campaigns. effectiveness. prevention. evaluation survey
Hip fractures sustained by the elderly are very common and represent a growing problem for public health services. Most of these fractures occur as the direct consequence of a fall-related blow to the hip area in the vicinity of the greater trochanter. In order to prevent the effect of this force, so-called hip protectors were developed, which are worn on the hips. The purpose of the study was to check their effectiveness as a function of the willingness to wear a protector. The randomized intervention study was carried out from 1 March 1998 until 31 December 1998 in 20 nursing and old people’s homes in all of Switzerland’s linguistic regions. The senior citizens in the intervention group, who were chosen at random, were given the opportunity to wear the protector (HIPS), those in the control group were not. In all, 548 fall-prone senior citizens were prepared to take part in the study. Of these, 348 persons (70.1 per cent) belonged to the intervention group and 164 to the control group (29.9 per cent) There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding linguistic region, age or sex.
The questioning required the use of various data collection tools: for the comparison of the intervention and control groups regarding the demographic and health-related circumstances at the beginning of the study personal details (age, sex, height, weight, etc.), details concerning state of health (memory problems, motor handicap, reason for the motor handicap, general state of health), information concerning medication (including the type and dosage of drugs that could encourage falls and of drugs to combat osteoporosis) as well as about existing fall risks (previous hip fracture or other fall-related fractures, falls during the last 2 years, impaired vision due to eye defects, etc.) were gathered with the aid of a detailed questionnaire. Furthermore, throughout the survey a record was kept for every person concerning all the falls that occurred. Of particular interest here were the various fall-related fractures as well as the question of whether or not a hip protector was being worn when the fall occurred. In addition, those persons who had agreed to wear the hip protector were checked to see whether they were actually wearing the protector on certain set days (20 days spread over the duration of the 10-month study). Likewise, the protector-wearers were asked about their acceptance of the protector and to talk about any problems that occurred when using it. On three different dates (after 3, 6 and 10 months) they were required to give their assessment of ‘wearing comfort’, ‘external visibility’ and ‘usefulness’. Finally a bone quality check (resistance to bending) was carried out on about 100 persons selected at random from both groups as well as on those who had sustained a fall-related fracture in the course of the survey...
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