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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Hospital to home : perceived need for care and support Galloway, Sharon Eleanor


Falls are a major health problem for older women. In British Columbia, women aged 75 years and older comprise 85% of the total number of individuals admitted to hospital with a fall. Falls result in physical and psychological consequences. A review of the literature indicates that most studies on falls are epidemiological in nature. There are no studies that deal with the consequences of the fall and their effect on the older woman's perceptions of her need for care and support after hospitalization for a fall. The purpose of this study is to describe the need for care and support as perceived by women aged 75 years and older returning home to live alone after a hospitalization for a fall. Phenomenology is the chosen research method. This method describes human experience as it is lived. Subjects were recruited through the liaison nurses and home care coordinators from the Health Department. Eight women participated in the repeated interviews guided by trigger questions. Certain themes emerged from data analysis and were coded accordingly. These themes were verified, validated, and/or discounted in subsequent interviews. The findings indicated that the elderly women perceived the fall as both a significant and unpredictable event in their life. It resulted in a change of routine as they returned home to live alone. In response to this change, the women described threats to their self-esteem, particularly to their feelings of independence, activity, and autonomy. A variety of behaviours were used to cope with the threats to their self-esteem. Use of social support was one behaviour used by all the women. In describing this behaviour, reciprocity was important in the friendships of elderly women. This study also concluded that there were numerous difficulties in using social supports from a formal program. The implications for nursing research, practice, and education were discussed in light of these findings.

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