Life after Fracture: So the Journey Begins
A hip fracture is a significant event for older adults and their families, however there are a few things that older adults told us that helped them with the recovery process. We interviewed approximately 19 older adults and/or their family members about the experience, and their “words of wisdom” for recovery after hip fracture. When we summarized the findings, we noted three key themes or concepts: move more, seek support and put things into perspective. So what does this mean?
Key theme #1: Move more
Older adults were emphatic about the importance of completing the “physio” exercises; building balance and strength is essential to helping the physical recovery process to prevent future falls and injuries. They also told us that trying to move more and avoid prolonged sitting (if possible) is also an important part of the recovery process.
Key theme #2: Seek support
Older adults told us that seeking the support of their families, friends and community helped their recovery. This included receiving assistance with obtaining assistive devices (such as a walker or shower chair), helping to buy groceries or setting up medical appointments. At an emotional level, older adults recognized the support from people helped them in the early days after hospital discharge. An interesting point expressed by some older adults was trying to achieve balance between asking and receiving support during the recovery phase, without losing their sense of independence.
Key theme #3: Put things into perspective
Our study participants told us that they needed to remind themselves how far they had come after the hip fracture, and that progress was often a gradual process. As a result, they recommended that people set goals for their recovery, and specifically to keep a diary to record progress to see how far they have come since the fracture. They told us that they needed to put things into perspective to continue on the path to recovery.
The rich experience garnered from our study participants led to the development of a new educational manual and several videos to enhance the recovery process. The Fracture Recovery for Seniors at Home (FReSH) Start Toolkit is a patient-centered communication tool. The accompanying videos are meant to provide a snapshot of the recovery process from the perspective of older adults. We also aimed to provide a summary of key features from a nursing and physiotherapy perspective.