Fragility Hip Fracture in the under 60s: A Qualitative Study of Recovery Experiences and the Implications for Nursing

Background: Hip fracture is a common, serious, complex injury and an important cause of morbidity, mortality and rising healthcare costs. Incidence and impact in the under 60s has been under researched. The aim of this study was therefore to explore the recovery experiences of young adults with an isolated hip fracture following a minor fall to inform future care delivery.

Methods and Findings: The Silences Framework was used to guide a critical interpretivist study. Thirty in-depth, minimally structured, story-telling interviews were conducted with participants between one and 10 years post injury. One cross-cutting theme, ‘Communication’ and four main themes: ‘Experience of care’, ’Impact on self’, ‘Impact on others’ and ‘Moving forward’ were identified. The findings indicated multi-faceted, often long term, physical, social and psychological impact on participants, their family and wider social networks. This included Post Traumatic Stress Disorder type symptoms and impact on work, finances and relationships. Inadequacies in the current care pathway and limited relevance of the commonly used patient reported hip fracture outcome measures used for young adults were also identified.

Conclusion: The dominant discourse on fragility hip fracture almost exclusively focuses on the elderly and short-term outcomes. This was the first study investigating the long-term impact of fragility hip fracture in young adults from their perspective and the first application of a new research framework in an acute care setting. It found the needs of younger hip fracture patients are not adequately recognised or addressed. Increased awareness and improvements in healthcare provision are needed to minimise the long-term personal and societal impact of fragility fracture in the under 60s.

Author(s): Gillian Janes, Laura Serrant and Magi Sque

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