• hip fracture;
  • patient experience;
  • nursing;
  • phenomenology

Background.  Hip fracture is a major cause of mortality and morbidity, particularly among older people, but there is little information on how individuals experience this.

Aims.  This study was conducted to explore the experiences of individuals who had suffered a hip fracture. The aim was not to produce generalizable findings but, rather, to generate a rich description of the experience of incurring and recovering from a hip fracture, to inform nursing practice.

Method.  Phenomenological methodology was used. A purposeful sample of five older patients was interviewed, following a stay in a community hospital for rehabilitation after surgical repair of a hip fracture. The unstructured interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed for significant statements and meanings.

Findings.  Four major themes emerged: the injury experience, the pain experience, the recovery experience and the disability experience. The injury experience consisted of storytelling, recalling the experience of the injury itself. The pain experience consisted of coping with the pain. The recovery experience involved the operation, beginning the struggle of recovery, and regaining independence. The disability experience consisted of the disability itself, depending on others, and being housebound.

Conclusions.  Pain management, meeting psychological and physical needs for nursing care, planning for discharge, and ensuring a reasonable quality of life are areas for nursing care development. Consideration of appropriate settings for rehabilitation is needed and there should be further investigation into improving quality of life after discharge.