Social Support Plays Key Role in Successful Rehabilitation after Hip Fracture
According to researchers, a patient’s social interaction after a hip fracture can significantly impact their recovery during post-acute rehabilitation.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, emphasizes the importance of considering social factors when planning rehabilitation for hip fracture patients, particularly concerning living arrangements and family interactions.
Lead author Saionara Câmara, Ph.D., and her team from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil conducted a cohort study in the Baltimore Hip Studies seventh cohort.
They followed 168 male and 171 female patients recently hospitalized for a hip fracture, assessing them at two, six, and 12 months post-admission. The researchers collected data on the patients’ living situations and family interactions and screened their physical performance using the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB).
The findings revealed that men who lived alone had poorer physical performance scores throughout the one-year follow-up period, while both men and women showed better physical performance when they had higher levels of social interaction.
Specifically, in male participants, visiting with friends was associated with better function, whereas visiting with children or siblings was linked to worse function in females.
The researchers highlighted the concept of social frailty, which refers to patients at risk of losing or losing resources necessary to meet their basic social needs, including affection, confirmation of behavior, status, social activities, relationships, participation, and self-management abilities.
Men were found to be particularly vulnerable to these risks, with worse health status, more chronic conditions, and poorer cognitive status compared to women at baseline.
In light of these findings, Câmara and her colleagues concluded, “Screening for social isolation and interventions that promote social integration may optimize functional recovery for hip fracture survivors.”
This research underscores the significance of social support and engagement in rehabilitation. It suggests that healthcare professionals should consider the social factors of patients when planning their post-acute care.
“By addressing social isolation and encouraging social integration, clinicians and long-term care facilities can potentially improve the overall outcomes for hip fracture patients,” – Joe Kubulak, Chief Operating Officer at SpecialtyRx.