Background: People who return to living in the community after a hip fracture are considered to have the best outcome. However, their quality of life (QOL) and its relationship with function over the longer term have not been fully assessed.
Aims: This case control study of community dwelling subjects six to 12 months post hip fracture aims to investigate their QOL and functional independence.
Method: The Short Form-36 (SF-36) was utilised to measure QOL. The Modified Barthel Index (MBI), the Frenchay Activities of Daily Living Index (FAI), the Timed 'Up & Go' (TUG), and the Berg Balance Scale (Berg) were used to measure functionality.
Results: Ninety-two subjects and 92 controls were recruited. Despite being age and gender matched, the hip fracture subjects scored significantly (p<0.05) worse than the controls in all measures of function. The fracture group was slower on the TUG (19 vs 10.5 seconds), had more difficulties with balance (46 vs 54 out of 56), and was less active and more dependent than the control group (FAI 24 vs 31 out of 42). The SF-36 has eight domains: physical function, role physical, bodily pain, mental health, role emotional, social function, general health and vitality. The control group had a higher (p<0.05) perception of their QOL in all domains.
Conclusion: The effects of impaired balance and mobility along with reduced functional and social independence are reflected in the diminished QOL perceived by the fracture group. This indicates that many do not return to their pre-fracture lifestyle.