Adventures in caregiving

As a caregiver you try to do what’s best, but sometimes your good intentions are declined – or blatantly rejected. This happened to me recently when my mother’s doctor ordered hip protectors for her – understandable because my mother has broken her hip twice in the last six months.

My mother was not on board with the plan. She not only refused to wear the hip protectors, which cost close to $200 for the two pairs, but she wouldn’t allow them in her room. They now sit, carefully folded, clean and unused on the top shelf of her storage closet – outside of her room.

While this may put her at risk for yet another broken hip, she  has made her decision. When you think about it, we all take risks in our lives – dashing across a busy street, walking on slippery ice, climbing on a wobbly stool. I’ve had to accept that my mother has the right to refuse those hip protectors.

In the mean time, I did some research into the effectiveness of hip protectors. Some studies found there was little benefit, while others found they did reduce the risk of hip fractures. A 2006 study, “Effectiveness of hip protectors for preventing hip fractures in elderly people: systematic review” published in the British Medical Journal summarized their findings this way: 

“What is already known on this topic

Hip protectors have been advocated to prevent hip fractures in elderly people

What this study adds

Early randomised trials on elderly institutionalised people suggested that hip fracture incidence was reduced in those using hip protectors

Subsequent randomised studies found hip protectors to be ineffective for those living at home and questioned their effectiveness in institutionalised people

Compliance with wearing hip protectors is poor”



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