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Common problems

The most common medical problems that we see in hip fracture patients are:

  • Infections – Despite the best possible care, unfortunately infections can still occur, particularly in those with other health problems. For example those who have chest disease are more prone to chest infections.
  • Renal (kidney) problems – This will be monitored closely following surgery and may require some adjustments to medication or a drip if the person is not eating or drinking very much. A catheter (tube in the bladder) may be used to help the patient pass urine.
  • Confusion – acute confusion (also known as delirium) can occur for many reasons. A patient who is suffering from acute confusion may present as being sleepy or agitated (or even a mixture of both). Often there is not one single cause however it is more common after surgery, particularly in patients with dementia and multiple medical conditions. Early recognition and appropriate nursing and medical care is very important. Our mental health team can be helpful in this circumstance.
  • Anaemia (low red blood cells) – This is often due to blood loss during surgery. In many cases this improves with time without the need for any treatment however some people may require a blood transfusion.
  • Deterioration in a known medical condition such as angina or heart failure.
  • Poor nutrition – patients often don’t feel like eating when unwell so we encourage them to take supplement drinks and may refer to the dietician.
  • Pain – this can be addressed by pain relieving medication.
  • Constipation – this might require laxative treatment.
  • Blood clots – a blooding thinning injection we routinely give should help to prevent this.

This is not an exhaustive list and other less common complications can also occur.

Hip fracture is a serious condition and sometimes we may need to speak to patients, relatives and carers about end of life issues such as resuscitation (DNA CPR) if the patient is very poorly. Sadly statistics suggest approximately 1 in 5 people with a hip fracture will die in the next year and half of patients will not return to their previous level of function.

Bone health and falls

We are also very keen to prevent a further fall and fracture therefore we look at bone health (particularly a condition called osteoporosis - fragile bones meaning a fracture more likely) which may require specific investigations (bone density scan, also known as DEXA scan) and treatments (most commonly a medication called a bisphosphonate which is a weekly tablet) to prevent future fractures. A good intake of calcium and Vitamin D is also required for optimal bone health therefore patients are often given extra supplements on discharge. We will also look at any risk factors for falling that can be modified. Common falls risk factors include poor mobility, falls risk medications, impaired eyesight and urine incontinence. A referral to the falls clinic may be required. 

Call us on 0191 482 0000

In emergencies dial 999 / Non-emergencies dial 111

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