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Patient spotlight: Harold

A smooth recovery for a fractured hip
Pseudonym has been used
It’s happened to all of us: a middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom with a sleepy walk back to bed. Most of the time, this is no major event. For Harold, this familiar trip resulted in a fall on his right side, landing between the bathtub and vanity sink. Early in the morning, his daughter and son-in-law and grandson, whom he lives with, found him lying on the floor and immediately called 911.

When Harold arrived at Headwaters, the emergency doctors ran different tests, and diagnosed him with a broken hip. Hip fractures among older adults like Harold can be serious due to heightened risks with age during surgery and post-surgical recovery, and the initial injury could also lead to complications. For this reason, Harold was given a same-day transfer to Brampton Civic Hospital, William Osler Health Systems for hip surgery. “The last time I was in the hospital was when I was 5 years old getting my tonsils out. For 80 years, I had never broken a bone,” says Harold, whose surgery appointment was one week after he was admitted. “I understood the situation that other people in dire circumstances needed the operating room more than I did. My pain was bearable,” he sympathetically recalls.

As soon as his post-surgery assessment was clear, Harold was transferred back to Headwaters.  Admitted once again, Harold took part in a rehabilitation and physiotherapy recovery program, which he quickly took to, as an active adult who exercised regularly. “The most difficult part was learning to walk with a walker. My mobility gradually improved until I got stronger and was discharged. At home, I got used to the walker and I could take normal strides again,” says Harold.

Whenever patients are admitted, an interprofessional health team of primary and community-care allied health practitioners meet twice daily at Headwaters to discuss patient needs, and form a plan based on the consensus of expert opinions at the table, which also takes discharge into consideration.

Harold’s interprofessional team recognized his readiness for discharge and made plans for his recovery at home, including wrap-around supports from specialty practitioners to visit Harold, based on his needs. Discharge planning in partnership with Home and Community Care helps to ensure his home environment is safe and accommodating to his new health realities.  “Julia Harding, an occupational therapist from CBI Health came to my home and recommended a bath chair and a pole from floor to ceiling that I could support myself, allowing me to step right into the bath chair from my walker,” Harold explains. The incredible partnership with the hospital, community care organizations and their home care practitioners make the road to recovery a smooth and continuous one, wherever the patient is receiving care.

A little over a month after the fall, Harold’s daughter brought him back to Brampton Civic Hospital for a surgical check-up. “The surgeon assessed x-rays and said everything was fine. He also suggested that I wean myself off the walker, and eventually use it less and less so I can learn to walk on my own. I’m looking forward to spring when I can take walks outside again.”

Learn more about inspiring patient care by reading the Headwaters 2022 - 2023 Annual Report.