More than 95% of hip fractures in older adults are caused by falls. Nearly one-third die within a year, while over half never regain their mobility function. Furthermore, hip fractures bring a large burden to healthcare costs. Clearly, preventing hip fractures is a healthcare priority.
Traditional approaches focus on preventing falls or enhancing bone density. However, for older adults who are over 80 years of age, bone density is a weak predictor of fracture risk and the effectiveness of osteoporosis medications becomes limited. In addition, fall prevention in individuals who are frail is challenging. Physical activity for them actually creates risk for falls. Therefore, fall management in nursing homes and geriatric care requires strategies that extend beyond fall prevention – to preventing injuries during a fall.
Hip protectors have been promoted for preventing hip fractures in older adults; wearers have a three-time lower chance to suffer from hip fractures. Since the effectiveness is determined by its biomechanical performance (force attenuation) and user compliance (acceptance and adherence), the team works with care staff, older adults and families to implement hip protectors via an education programme. Participants are encouraged to wear one through interactive lessons, brochures and a video adapted to the local context which increase the awareness of its clinical benefits.
Through the implementation of hip protectors with established knowledge on its effectiveness, compliance in wearing hip protectors would be increased. This leads to a reduction of hip fractures in high-risk environments; and establishes a template that can be utilised in other hospitals and nursing homes to promote safe mobility and injury prevention in older adults. Furthermore, reducing the incidence of hip fractures contributes to the decrease of healthcare costs in society.
– 400 older adults
– 60 caregivers in nursing homes and hospitals
– 8 nursing homes and 4 hospitals
Yijian is interested in injury biomechanics, mobility and fall prevention in older adults. His research has been featured in The Lancet and other top-ranked journals. He was a recipient of several major awards, including two competitive fellowship awards in Canada, and a 2018 Gold Award of Innovative Research on Aging by an institute in Illinois.
Yijian competed his medical degree at Sun Yat-Sen University (China), his PhD in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University and Postdoc in Family Practice at the University of British Columbia (Canada). He is an active member of several international associations.