Delirium is common, particularly in hip fracture patients. It often delays or impedes recovery, increasing medical costs and length of hospital stays. Some of the women I shared a room with were in a delirious state for days; they often didn’t understand what had happened to them. Visiting family members were also highly concerned about their loved one’s level of confusion and difficulty moving. It seemed likely that many of them would either stay in hospital for a long time or not be able to return home.
One evening, a woman on the ward reminisced about her days as a fashion designer and her flamboyant lifestyle – she missed hosting dinner parties for artist friends. As she nervously planned for her discharge, she pondered: who will do the grocery shopping and how she will manage living on her own? For another woman, it wasn’t her first time with a fragility fracture. The pain from her previous fracture persisted, preventing her from sleeping. She also rarely left her house because of the fear of falling again.
We need to ensure people maintain their productivity, mobility and independence as they age
We know how to prevent and mitigate the impact of fragility fractures. But gaps in care persist, leaving many people across Europe to deal with constrained mobility, chronic pain and fear of a subsequent fracture.
Detecting fracture risk early and prescribing osteoporosis medication can effectively prevent fragility fractures. Yet recent data show that 71% of people in Europe who would benefit from preventive osteoporosis medication are not receiving it – a significant increase from 55% in 2010. In addition, dedicated follow-up care post-fracture is key for prevention, but remains insufficient in many countries.