What's the physical therapy for a broken hip with a pin in it?

4 answers | Last updated: Aug 13, 2014
Debra drost maime but going to california asked...

I need to give my 84 yr. old father physical therapy for his broken hip that now has a pin in it.  Can you please send me instructions?

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.

After someone has surgery to repair a broken hip, they can receive physical therapy in one of several settings, including at the hospital (post op), in a rehabilitation facility (if transferred there), and at home. You didn't specify where your dad is in the process, but regardless, you start by taking him to a physical therapist. Physical therapy is highly specialized and not something you can or should do on your own.

The first step for your dad, no matter what level of care he is receiving, is to request a prescription from his doctor for a "physical therapy evaluation and treatment." The prescription must include a written diagnosis and the doctor's signature. Once you have the prescription, you're usually free to go to any physical therapy clinic you want. The doctor may have some recommendations. Call ahead of time and make sure the physical therapy clinic takes your father's type of insurance. Most likely he has Medicare which should cover 80% of the evaluation and treatment costs. If he has a secondary insurance make sure the clinic accepts it and this should cover the rest. Ask the particular clinic for specifics on reimbursement.

Based on the doctor's prescription, the physical therapist will devise a plan for your dad, which may include home sessions, office sessions, or a combination. (Some therapists use swimming pools.) Your father will be given specific exercises to decrease pain, and to improve his strength and mobility. I hope this helps you get your dad started down the road towards recovery.

Community Answers

Marciamspt answered...

Laura, great answer!

Physical Therapy IS highly specialized and should be "taught not caught!"

Home health care PT is covered 100% through Medicare at this point in time. The same process of getting a physician referral is needed for this to be covered.

All physical therapy is beneficial, but remember to keep your dad active... walking keeps us walking and sitting, well, it keeps us sitting and our body's don't work well when they sit.

Cheers for full recover!

Marcia Oliver MSPT, CPT

*susan answered...

Hip fractures are no doubt not the same in all older people; your dad is 84; my mil is 97. A professional physical therapist needs to do the therapy. Find the best you can get for your dad.

After her surgery my mil's surgeon's physical therapy prescription insisted that there be no weight-bearing on the side with the hip fracture for 90 days after the pin was put in. The follow-up x-ray and appointment with the surgeon 90 days later confirmed the hip had healed and could bear weight, whereupon a new prescription was given to the physical therapists at the rehab center where she was staying.

May your dad recover as well as my mil, who has made a complete recovery in 4 months and is returning home--walking with a cane (for short distances) and walker (for going out) and her independence. Wishing you and your dad well--and good luck.

Window answered...

my 87 year old mom broke her hip at the end of January and had aquatic physical therapy for several months. What a godsend! I had aquatic therapy following knee surgery several years ago at a local university pool and specifically requested it for mom. Now we are both members of the pool (indoor and heated) and go at least 2 times a week. She pitches a fit about being in "other people's bath water" but always has a good time and feels so much better afterwards. I have just neglected to tell her that the official therapy has ended and just tell her it's time to go!