The Use of Hip Protectors in Long-Term Care Facilities: A Survey of Nursing Home Staff
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OBJECTIVES: To determine the level of exposure to hip protectors and barriers to their use in nursing homes. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We conducted a written survey of 160 staff (including administrators) in 5 nursing homes in the Hamilton-Wentworth region, Ontario, Canada. MEASUREMENTS: The results of primary analyses were expressed as percentage of respondents. RESULTS: Among respondents of respective institutions, the rate of prior exposure to hip protectors varied from 40.9% to 100.0% and the rate of prior experience applying these devices varied from 14.3% to 80.0%. The most frequently cited main barriers to the use of hip protectors in long-term care facilities included physicians not thinking to prescribe them, expense, lack of evidence of benefit in this population, wearer discomfort, and wearer removal. A lack of staff time to apply these devices was rarely cited. The majority of staff believed that nursing home residents with a prior history of fracture, those who fall frequently, or those who are unsteady on their feet should wear hip protectors. CONCLUSIONS: The exposure of surveyed nursing home staff to hip protectors was variable but most agreed that residents who are at increased risk of hip fracture should wear them. Some identified barriers to the use of hip protectors in long-term care facilities were physicians not thinking to prescribe them, expense, lack of evidence of benefit in this population, wearer discomfort, and wearer removal. Such barriers need to be addressed for hip protector implementation strategies to be successful in nursing homes.
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