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Keywords:

  • hip fracture;
  • elderly women;
  • functional status;
  • focus group;
  • grounded theory;
  • transitions;
  • subacute care;
  • qualitative;
  • rehabilitation;
  • recovery

Transitions in the lives of elderly women who have sustained hip fractures

Hip fractures represent a major health problem within the older population, especially for elderly, white women. As the older woman transitions through the recovery process following hip fracture, her ability to meet basic needs, fulfil usual roles, and maintain well-being is threatened. Despite the rehabilitation provided to these women, studies suggest that hip fractures frequently result in permanent decline in functional status. Little is known about what characterizes those few elderly women who do recover to their previous level of functioning. In this context, a study was designed to identify factors which promote function and enable a successful transition following hip fracture. A total of 15 women ranging in age from 72 to 82, who had returned home alone following care in a Midwestern subacute unit, participated in three focus groups. The data were analysed using the grounded theory method. The findings revealed that the women were confronted with an array of problems, which were labelled function-inhibiting factors. To overcome these problems, the women mobilized their adaptive approaches to life. In addition, they identified various interdisciplinary interventions, labelled function-promoting factors, which helped to provide a successful transition. From these findings, a programme of interdisciplinary interventions was identified which could be implemented in subacute units and tested to establish its effectiveness in promoting a successful transition following hip fracture.