Effect of occupational therapy on functional and emotional outcomes after hip fracture treatment: a randomized controlled trial

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To explore whether an occupational therapy intervention combined with physiotherapy rehabilitation improved hip fracture patient outcomes regarding emotional distress, fatigue, independence and function.


Randomized controlled trial.


Inpatient trauma ward in a rehabilitation and trauma hospital.


One hundred and twenty-two patients admitted into hospital for hip fracture.


Patients were randomly assigned to a standard care group (SC, n = 61) or a combined treatment group (CT, n = 61). The SC group received conventional hospital care for hip fracture patients and the CT group underwent occupational therapy as well.

Main measures:

Patients’ emotional distress (GHQ-28), perceived fatigue (the first item of the BASDAI using a 0-100 visual analogue scale scale), level of independence (Modified Barthel Index) and function (Harris Hip Score) were measured at baseline and one, three and six months after the intervention.


Patients in the CT group experienced a considerable decrease of emotional distress at three and six months (p = 0.005 and p < 0.001, respectively). A between-group analysis showed significant differences in emotional distress at one, three and six months (p < 0.001). Although fatigue levels decreased in the SC group, the most significant decline was reported by the CT group at six months (p < 0.001, mean difference = 14 points). Regarding independence level, significant differences were found within groups at each stage, but also between groups at one month in favor of the CT group. Function improved in both groups compared with baseline (p < 0.001), but no significant differences were found in functionality between groups.


Although both groups reported significant improvements, patients in the CT group had better scores in emotional distress and dependence throughout follow-up and better scores in all measures at six months.

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