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There is good evidence (level 1a) that hip protectors are not effective in reducing the incidence of hip fracture following a fall, in elderly people living in the community, but may be effective for elderly people with a previous history of hip fracture living in aged-care facilities.

Prepared by:

Kathryn Thorpe (ktandca@tpg.com.au)
4th year undergraduate occupational therapy student,
University of Western Sydney
in these studies.

Date:

May 2004

Review Date:

May 2006

Clinical Question:

What is the evidence that wearing hip protectors compared to not wearing hip protectors reduces the incidence of hip fracture following a fall for older persons living in their own home or an aged care facility?

Clinical Scenario:

Hip fractures are a major cause of morbidity and mortality for people over 65 years of age, and almost all occur as a result of a simple fall. Hip protectors which are plastic shields or foam pads that fit into the pockets of specially designed underwear, have been advocated as a means to reduce the risk of sustaining a fracture in a fall on the hip.
What is the effectiveness of hip protectors in reducing the incidence of hip fracture following a fall in elderly persons living in the community or in an aged care facility?

Clinical Bottom Line:

Hip protectors may be effective in reducing the incidence of hip fracture following a fall for elderly people with a previous history of hip fracture living in aged-care facilities. However, biases and lack of compliance within the existing studies, limits the applicability of these results. There is no evidence that hip protectors are effective in reducing the incidence of hip fracture following a fall in elderly people living in the community.

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