Purpose: This paper examines gender differences in trajectories of basic activities of daily living after fall-related injuries to the extremities in independently living older people in the Netherlands.
Method: The study comprised a prospective design. Data were collected from 31 men and 140 women at baseline, when they had not yet sustained injuries (hip fractures, other fractures or contortions and dislocations), and 8 weeks, 5 months and 12 months after their accident. Analysis of variance was used to test for differences in change in basic activities of daily living between baseline and follow-ups for men, for women and for the total study sample while adjusting for several covariates
Results: The patients did not generally regain their pre-injury levels of functioning 12 months after their event. However, in contrast to the women, older men more closely reached their pre-injury levels of functioning. Although women deteriorated more than men, differences were not statistically significant at 8 weeks and 5 months post-injury. Long-term recovery, however, was significantly associated with gender when the impact of severity seemed to have expired.
Conclusions: Recovery of basic activities of daily living one year after injuries to the extremities seems to be influenced by gender. Female patients recovered less well compared to males. These gender-related changes warrant concern and attention in clinical practice.