Multidisciplinary rehabilitation for older people with hip fractures

The objective of this study was to examine the effects of multidisciplinary rehabilitation, in either inpatient or ambulatory care settings, for older patients with hip fracture. The 13 included trials involved 2498 older, usually female, patients who had undergone hip fracture surgery. Though generally well conducted, some trials were at risk of bias such as from imbalances in key baseline characteristics. There was substantial clinical heterogeneity in the trial interventions and populations. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation was provided primarily in an inpatient setting in 11 trials. Pooled results showed no statistically significant difference between intervention and control groups for poor outcome, mortality or hospital readmission. Individual trials found better results, often short-term only, in the intervention group for activities of daily living and mobility. There was considerable heterogeneity in length of stay and cost data. Three trials reporting carer burden showed no evidence of detrimental effect from the intervention. Overall, the evidence indicates that multidisciplinary rehabilitation is not harmful. The trial comparing primarily home-based multidisciplinary rehabilitation with usual inpatient care found marginally improved function and a clinically significantly lower burden for carers in the intervention group. Participants of this group had shorter hospital stays, but longer periods of rehabilitation. One trial found no significant effect from doubling the number of weekly contacts at the patient’s home from a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team.

While there was a tendency to a better overall result in patients receiving multidisciplinary inpatient rehabilitation, these results were not statistically significant. Future trials of multidisciplinary rehabilitation should aim to establish both effectiveness and cost effectiveness of multidisciplinary rehabilitation overall, rather than evaluate its components.

Handoll HH, Cameron ID, Mak JC, et al. Multidisciplinary rehabilitation for older people with hip fractures. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009 Oct 7;(4):CD007125

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