Older people recovering from a hip fracture experience barriers for mobility in the home environment

About half of hip fracture patients reported barriers for mobility when entering the home or in the outdoor home environment. One year after the fracture, many people still experienced barriers, especially in the outdoor environment.

This was found in a study performed at the Gerontology Research Center in collaboration with the Central Finland Health Care District. In this project, 81 patients that lived independently were followed-up for one year. They were divided into two groups, one received standard care and the other received an additional for one year.

The year-long rehabilitation program, aiming to restore mobility function, did not decrease the number of barriers more than standard care. However in general, participants reported fewer barriers, especially those relating to the home entrance, over the year.

Mobility limitation together with perceived barriers in home may lead to a reduction in outdoor activities including shopping for groceries, and thus reducing possibilities to maintain independent in daily activities. In addition, physical inactivity may delay the recovery of mobility after fracture.

An environment enabling also people with poorer mobility to move around is thus important for restoring mobility function in older people after for example a hip fracture, Postdoctoral Researcher Erja Portegijs says.

The results were published online in an international scientific journal BioMed Research International on August 7, 2013.

More information: Portegijs E, Rantakokko M, Edgren J, Salpakoski A, Heinonen A, Arkela M, Kallinen M, Rantanen T, Sipilä S. Effects of a rehabilitation program on perceived environmental barriers in older patients recovering from hip fracture; a randomized controlled trial. BioMed Research International 2013;2013:769645. DOI: 10.1155/2013/769645

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