How can we help my mother with pain from a broken hip?

1 answer | Last updated: Nov 16, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

How can we help my mom with her broken hip pain? My mother suffered a stroke years ago leaving her paralyzed on the right side, and confined to a wheechair. She just broke her hip and the decision was made to send her home to allow the hip to heal on its own without any surgical repair based on her age and health. We were originally told she would be confined to bed for 6 weeks, but are now told she should be up in the wheelchair every day. Every movement seems to hurt. What can I do to make her more comfortable in the short-term? What is her long-term outlook?

Expert Answers

Laura Beltramo, a physical therapist who specializes in geriatrics, graduated with honors from the University of California at San Francisco in 2000. She loves her job working as the sole physical therapist at a premier life-care facility in San Francisco. She has written articles and lectured extensively on fall prevention and other issues relevant to the aging experience. As a registered yoga teacher, she teaches yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques to seniors -- helping them expand their repertoire for coping with stress, pain, and illness in the later years.

It is certainly best to get a personalized assessement from a physical therapist so she can talk to you about your mom's specific situation. Generally, therapists try to get patients up as much as possible (raising the head of the bed, spending time up in a chair etc)--this is helpful to their overall health and wellbeing. The guidelines for mobility are based on medical issues involved and the patient's tolerance. If your mom is primarily limited by pain, then it would be helpful to talk to the doctor and nurses about better pain management. Their are lots of options in this area. You can also talk to a physical or occupational therapist about different positions to help your mom be more comfortable in bed. She may also enjoy some massage from an experienced massage therapist on certain body parts--such as her hands and feet. The long term outlook is difficult for me to say from this vantage point. In general, when a frail elderly person's mobility is further compromised it can be detrimental to their long term prognosis. Your mother's comfort is the most important. Make sure you utilize the resources around you --like social workers, hospice nurses etc. to help you support your mom. I wish you the very best.