Unpaid caregiving for people following hip fractures

Unpaid caregiving for people following hip fractures

People following hip fracture receive increasing levels of unpaid care following their trauma, to support their ability to undertake ADLs at home compared to pre-fracture requirements.

This study, undertaken in UK, included 246 hip fracture patients and aimed at determining who are the unpaid carers of these patients, with which activities unpaid carers support patients and if this situation changes over time. Data were derived from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) cohort.

The results indicated that:

  • Whilst unpaid care was largely delivered by a spouse or the person’s child at the time of fracture, over time, there was increased delivery of unpaid care from a wider caregiving network including siblings and friends.
  • The patients frequently received unpaid care for PADLs such as washing, dressing and eating/food preparation. Whilst this need decreased over time, there was increased support received for more complex tasks such as managing money, administering medications and more physically demanding activities such as housework.
  • Unpaid care activities increased after hip fracture. These findings flag the need to formal educational courses to empower carers to more effectively support those they care for, whilst reducing overarching burden and anxiety.

According to the authors of this study: ‘Given the level of support unpaid carers offer, and previously reported carer stress and burden, undertaking clinical trials to assess the effectiveness of carer–patient support interventions would be valuable’.

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