Hip protectors: are they beneficial in protecting older people from fall-related injuries?


  • Margot Combes BN, MN, RN,

    Clinical Nurse Supervisor, Corresponding author
    1. Southern Cross Care (Tas) Inc., Moonah, Hobart, Tas, Australia
    • Correspondence: Margot Combes, Clinical Nurse Supervisor, Southern Cross Care (Tas) Inc., PO Box 815, Moonah 7009, Hobart, Tas., Australia. Telephone: +613 6214 9700

      E-mail: Margot.Combes@scctas.org.au

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  • Kay Price PhD

    Associate Professor
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA, Australia
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Aims and objectives

To report findings of an investigation into the methodological quality of research informing the use of hip protectors for those clients in residential aged care considered to be at high risk of falls and to contribute to the translation of research evidence into practice by identifying issues surrounding the use of hip protectors in practice.


Falls risk is a predominant concern when nursing older people, especially those in residential aged care. Fall-related injuries, specifically pertaining to the hip, yield a high cost to the individual both physically and psychologically. Accordingly, hip protectors are argued in related literature as a form of protection against such injuries.


A database search as per a specified search strategy was conducted for quantitative research publications and randomised control trials.


English language publications were sought from the year 2000–2011. Searches were made, using specific combinations of keywords, in the following databases: MEDLINE via OvidSP, CINAHL via EBSCOHost, Ageline via OvidSP, Cochrane Library, The Joanna Briggs Institute and Google Scholar.


Six articles were selected for review. Methodological quality of the research publications collated varied, and the use of hip protectors was deemed inconclusive. Compliance was raised as a prevailing issue.


The problem of fall-related injuries is significant. Whilst some evidence is inconclusive, the use of hip protectors is recommended as best practice.

Relevance to clinical practice

The issue of compliance, however, was identified to affect the use of appliances in residential aged care. Addressing compliance issues must be tackled if hip protectors are to be part of a resident-centred approach.