Recovery outlooks of physical functioning and quality of life after hip fracture have not changed significantly over the past 25 years. Previous research has mainly dealt with causalities and acute treatment, while the recovery process from the patients’ perspective has been less comprehensively described. Expanded knowledge of what the patients consider important in their recovery process may have important consequences for how these patients are treated in the future and thereby on future patient outcomes. The aim presently is therefore to explore how elderly patients with hip fracture enrolled in an ongoing RCT have experienced their recovery process.
The study was qualitative in design. Eight frail elderly in recovery after hip fracture (aged 69–91) were interviewed in their home four months after their fracture. The interviews covered issues related to their experiences of facilitators and barriers throughout the different stages in the recovery process. The patients were already enrolled in an ongoing randomized controlled trial, examining the effects of habitual functional training during their short term stays at nursing homes. The patients were chosen strategically according to age, gender, and participation in rehabilitation. The interviews were recorded, transcribed and subjected to a method of systematic text condensation inspired by Giorgi’s phenomenological method.
The results revealed that the patients’ experiences of the recovery process fell into three main themes: “Feeling vulnerable”, “A span between self-reliance and dependency” and “Disruption from a normal life”. The feeling of gloominess and vulnerability persisted throughout. Being in recovery was also experienced as a tension between self-reliance and dependency; a disrupted life where loss of mobility and the impact of age was profoundly present.
Being in recovery after hip fracture was experienced as a life breaking event. Based on these findings, increased focus on individualized treatment to each patient through each stage of the recovery process should be emphasized.
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- “I struggle to count my blessings”: recovery after hip fracture from the patients’ perspective
Kristi Elisabeth Heiberg
- BioMed Central
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