Method: This prospective cohort study was carried out in a trauma service of an acute hospital in southern Spain including 159 patients with a hip fracture, 65 years or older and allowed weight-bearing after surgery. Patients or their relatives were interviewed about their residential status and functional level at pre-fracture, three months and one year after surgery, using the Functional Independence Measure.
Results: Losses of function for the main activities affected were, at the first month, third month and one year relative to the pre-fracture status:
- 50%, 25% and 12%, respectively, for locomotion
- 40%, 25% and 20%, respectively, for mobility; and
- 27%, 17% and 15%, respectively, for self care (p < 0.001).
Residential status changed mostly for patients who lived in their own home (73% before fracture to 58% at one year).
Conclusions: The loss of independence in the first year after a hip fracture is substantial for specific activities. Recovery mainly takes place during the first three months after surgery. Change of residence mostly involved those patients who lived alone in their own home at pre-fracture.
Implications for Rehabilitation:
- One year after fracture, patients did not recover their previous function, and the activities most affected at the one-year follow-up were: dressing lower body, bathing/showering, transfer bathtub/shower and walking up/down stairs.
- After a hip fracture, most recovery of the function happens within the first three months, though some functional activities continue recovering over the first year.
- Rehabilitation programs cannot be based only on mobility activities, the recovery of other daily living activities should also be included.