Purpose: To examine the carer's role regarding early hospital rehabilitation.
Method: A qualitative study, using semi-structured interviews with 30 carers. A convenience sample was obtained through participants volunteering for the study. Interviews were of 30 - 45 minutes duration and were audiotaped. The transcripts were read in their entirety by all authors. Main themes were identified and coded.
Results: Twenty women and ten men were recruited, who cared for 22 women and eight men. A third of the interviewees reported other caring responsibilities. Carers performed a range of tasks for the patient and most revolved around the key activity of hospital visiting. A range of functions were undertaken, including: help with eating and drinking; providing the opportunity for social interaction; acting as a link between the external world and hospital; and offering emotional support.
Conclusions: Carers not only provided practical help but also offered psychological support. Our study highlights the key role of carers in the rehabilitation of patients with hip fracture and provides support for the recommendation that family members should be provided with information regarding rehabilitation. Carers need to be regarded as a resource by hospital staff, given their key role in enhancing patient motivation.
- hip fracture
- social support