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Rehabilitation, not injury or treatment details, dominate proximal humeral fracture patient concerns: a thematic analysis

Nathan N O'Hara, Alisha Garibaldi, Sheila Sprague, Joshua Jackson, Alyson K Kwok, Dorcas E Beaton, Mohit Bhandari, Gerard P Slobogean


Background, objectives, and aims: To provide treatment using a patient-centered care model, the provider must understand the needs and wants of the patient and ensure the patient has access to appropriate and necessary health information. The objective of this study was to determine what information is most desired by proximal humeral fracture patients following their injury.

Methods: This qualitative study enrolled patients aged 60 years or older presenting with a proximal humeral fracture. Semi-structured interviews were conducted within one-month of injury and at 6-months post-injury. The interviews were transcribed, coded and analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: Four themes (biomedical information, recovery, engagement opportunities and support available) emerged from the coded data. Within one-month post-injury, the most commonly identified themes were rehabilitation and support available. Six-months after the injury, the most commonly identified theme remained rehabilitation, while the second most frequently identified theme shifted to engagement opportunities. The biomedical information theme emerged infrequently at both interviews.

Conclusions: Patient-centered care models for proximal humeral fracture patients could be improved by adapting to dynamic information concerns. While the effect of the injury on the patient’s rehabilitation remained the leading concern for the duration of the study period, secondary concerns did change over time. Providing germane information to patients at timely intervals supports patient-centered care, patient engagement and ultimately may improve patient care.


Biomedical information, functional outcomes, patient activation, patient-centered care, patient education, patient engagement, patient preferences, patient support, person-centered healthcare, proximal humeral fracture, recovery, rehabilitation

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