Hip fractures are a significant health risk for seniors. Hip fractures in long-term care residents may be reduced by preventing and treating osteoporosis, preventing falls, and by using hip protectors. Hip protectors are garments or undergarments with pockets for protective pads that protect the hips in the case of a fall.
The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) conducted a pilot project to provide policy guidance and an implementation tool on hip protectors in long-term care facilities. The policy guidance and implementation tool are based primarily on an evidence synthesis conducted by CADTH and on input by a panel of Canadian experts.
CADTH’s work on this project resulted in the following key messages:
- Hip protectors should be considered as one element of effective institutional, regional, or provincial/territorial injury prevention strategies for seniors in long-term care facilities.
- Hip protectors benefit some long-term care residents more than others. Specific criteria should be applied to determine which seniors would benefit most (e.g., residents with previous falls or fractures, osteoporosis, cognitive impairment; women over 70; and where hip protectors will not greatly interfere with activities of daily living).
- Long-term care staff and clinicians need to work closely with long-term care residents and their families to determine which type of hip protector best suits the needs of the resident. The preference of the resident must be considered.
- To allow for consistent use by residents in long-term care facilities, an adequate number of hip protectors need to be provided.