Barriers and facilitators to early mobilisation and weight-bearing as tolerated after hip fracture surgery among older adults in Saudi Arabia: a qualitative study

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Abstract

Objective
To explore the practice of prescribing and implementing early mobilisation and weight-bearing as tolerated after hip fracture surgery in older adults and identify barriers and facilitators to their implementation.
Methods
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 healthcare providers (10 orthopaedic surgeons and 10 physiotherapists) from Saudi Arabian government hospitals. Data were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.
Results
While early mobilisation and weight-bearing as tolerated were viewed as important by most participants, they highlighted barriers to the implementation of these practices. Most participants advocated for mobility within 48 h of surgery, aligning with international guidance; however, the implementation of weight-bearing as tolerated was varied. Some participants stressed the type of surgery undertaken as a key factor in weight-bearing prescription. For others, local protocols or clinician preference was seen as most important, the latter partially influenced by where they were trained. Interdisciplinary collaboration between orthopaedic surgeons and physiotherapists was seen as a crucial part of postoperative care and weight-bearing. Patient and family member buy-in was also noted as a key factor, as fear of further injury can impact a patient’s adherence to weight-bearing prescriptions. Participants noted a lack of standardised postoperative protocols and the need for routine patient audits to better understand current practices and outcomes.
Conclusion
This study contributes to national and global discussions on the prescription of early mobilisation and weight-bearing as tolerated. It highlights the necessity for a harmonised approach, incorporating standardised, evidence-based protocols with patient-specific care, robust healthcare governance and routine audits and monitoring for quality assurance and better patient outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberafae075
JournalAge and Ageing
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Apr 2024

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