Words of Wisdom

22 November 2013

In this blog post, Claire Schiller and Dr. Maureen Ashe describe a new study that aims to help older adults maximize recovery from hip fracture by developing an informative and interactive toolkit.

Ms. Schiller is the research coordinator for the Hip Fracture Interview Study, which runs through the Activity & Aging Lab (A3) at the Centre for Hip Health & Mobility (CHHM). Dr. Ashe is Associate Professor in the UBC Department of Family Practice, an investigator at the CHHM, an MSFHR Scholar and a CIHR New Investigator. Read about the A3 Lab.

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When going through a challenging experience, who better to consult than someone who has already been through it?

Recovery after hip fracture often involves numerous transitions in care [1], and this can sometimes make the process feel overwhelming. As a result, it is important to provide health information that older adults can relate to, and rely on, for guidance through the recovery process.

However, many times people discharged from hospital are either not able to receive relevant information for recovery (due to the illness), they don’t understand the material, or there is too much information provided.

Our goal is to help older adults maximize recovery after hip fracture and support quality of life. In the long term, we aim to test if focused and relevant information provided early in the recovery process can help older adults form mobility goals, return to follow-up appointments, and continue with their rehabilitation once they are discharged from hospital.

In this study, the Hip Fracture Interview Study, our aim was to develop these educational tools guided by the experience of older adults.

We are working with patients, families, and clinical staff at Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health to develop an informative and interactive toolkit about hip fracture recovery.

Patient-focused toolkit

Based on our previous experience working with older adults with hip fracture [2, 3] and health care professionals working in this area, it came to our attention that, for some, health communication strategies may need to be updated. Therefore, we decided to create a patient-focused toolkit guided by three key perspectives: available evidence; health professional knowledge and clinical experience; and importantly, the lived experience of the older adult with hip fracture.

As part of this process, we envisioned a three-phased approach: (i) preliminary work, including a review of existing health information from our local communities, and asking older adults about health communication, such as the type and content of information for hip fracture recovery; (ii) development of a toolkit to be evaluated by key stakeholders; and (iii) wider implementation and evaluation of the toolkit in practice.

A key component of phase one included asking the experts—that is, community-dwelling older adults and their family members—to take part in an interview about the early recovery process following hip fracture. We asked about what information they received in hospital, the utility of the information, what factors were particularly helpful in the recovery process, and what “words of wisdom” they could pass on to other older adults recovering from hip fracture.

To date, the process has been insightful and informative and has led to the development of our toolkit consisting of a manual and four videos. We look forward to working with our community partners as we move this project forward, and we are grateful to be guided by older adults’ insights in the recovery process.


  1. Sims-Gould J, Byrne K, Hicks E, Khan K, Stolee P. Examining “success” in post-hip fracture care transitions: a strengths-based approach. Journal of interprofessional care 2012; 26(3): 205-11.
  2. Gorman E, Chudyk AM, Hoppmann CA, et al. Exploring Older Adults’ Patterns and Perceptions of Exercise after Hip Fracture. Physiother Can 2013; 65(1): 86-93.
  3. Cook WL, Khan KM, Bech MH, et al. Post-discharge management following hip fracture–get you back to B4: a parallel group, randomized controlled trial study protocol. BMC Geriatr 2011; 11: 30.

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