Hip fracture is a serious injury in older people and can contribute to their death or loss of independence. Normally surgery is performed and followed by care in a ward under the supervision of orthopaedic staff. Additional rehabilitation within the hospital is sometimes provided by a geriatrician and other health professionals. Sometimes, the emphasis is on early discharge from hospital with multidisciplinary rehabilitation provided to the patient at home. There is enormous variety in these rehabilitation programmes.

This review included 13 trials, which involved a total of 2498 older, usually female, patients who had undergone surgery for hip fracture. Generally the trials appeared well conducted, although some were at risk of bias that could affect the reliability of their results. For example, despite randomisation, in five trials there were some important differences in patient characteristics, such as age, at the start of the trial that could have influenced trial findings. The trial interventions were very varied but all compared multidisciplinary rehabilitation with usual care. In 11 trials, care was provided either totally or mainly in an inpatient or hospital setting. While there was a tendency for a better outcome after multidisciplinary rehabilitation, the results were not statistically significant and thus cannot be considered conclusive. However, the overall evidence indicates that multidisciplinary rehabilitation is not harmful. Additionally, there was some inconclusive evidence that multidisciplinary rehabilitation did not add to the burden of carers. In one trial that compared home-based multidisciplinary rehabilitation with usual inpatient care, carers reported significantly lower burden in the long term after multidisciplinary rehabilitation. Participants in the home-based rehabilitation group of this trial had shorter hospital stays, but longer periods of rehabilitation. One other trial found no significant effect from doubling the number of weekly contacts at the patient’s home by a multidisciplinary rehabilitation team.

Overall, the results of this review suggest that multidisciplinary rehabilitation may help more older people recover after a hip fracture. However, the results are not conclusive and more research is needed.

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