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OBJECTIVES: This study aims to illuminate the perspectives of informal caregivers who support people following hip fracture surgery. DESIGN: A qualitative study embedded within a now completed multicentre, feasibility randomised controlled trial (HIP HELPER). SETTING: Five English National Health Service hospitals. PARTICIPANTS: We interviewed 20 participants (10 informal caregivers and 10 people with hip fracture), following hip fracture surgery. This included one male and nine females who experienced a hip fracture; and seven male and three female informal caregivers. The median age was 72.5 years (range: 65-96 years), 71.0 years (range: 43-81 years) for people with hip fracture and informal caregivers, respectively. METHODS: Semistructured, virtual interviews were undertaken between November 2021 and March 2022, with caregiver dyads (person with hip fracture and their informal caregiver). Data were analysed thematically. FINDINGS: We identified two main themes: expectations of the informal caregiver role and reality of being an informal caregiver; and subthemes: expectations of care and services; responsibility and advocacy; profile of people with hip fracture; decision to be a caregiver; transition from hospital to home. CONCLUSION: Findings suggest informal caregivers do not feel empowered to advocate for a person's recovery or navigate the care system, leading to increased and unnecessary stress, anxiety and frustration when supporting the person with hip fracture. We suggest that a tailored information giving on the recovery pathway, which is responsive to the caregiving population (ie, considering the needs of male, younger and more active informal caregivers and people with hip fracture) would smooth the transition from hospital to home. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ISRCTN13270387.Cite Now.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





Hip, QUALITATIVE RESEARCH, REHABILITATION MEDICINE, Aged, Female, Humans, Male, Caregivers, Feasibility Studies, Hip Fractures, Qualitative Research, State Medicine