Screening for Underlying Osteoporosis in Fragility Fracture Patients: The Patients Perspective
Randi Maria Hanghøj Tei1, *, Bente Langdahl1, Ole Brink2, Pia Dreyer3
1 Department of Diabetes and Hormone Diseases, Aarhus, University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Aarhus, University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
3 Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Aarhus, University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark
Early detection and treatment of osteoporosis are essential in preventing fractures and fracture-related morbidity and mortality. Fractures beget fractures and it is relevant, well-documented and beneficial to target osteoporosis screening in patients already suffering from a fracture. The associated increased number of patients being confronted with a potential diagnosis of osteoporosis makes it worth considering how this affects patients.
The aim of this study was to explore fracture patients’ experiences when confronted with the option of being screened for osteoporosis as the underlying reason of their fracture.
In a phenomenological hermeneutic framework, semi-structured interviews were performed in 15 fragiligty fracture patients being offered screening for osteoporosis. Analysis inspired by Ricoeur consisting of naive reading, structural analysis, critical analysis and discussion was applied.
Fracture patients were condemned to make a choice when confronted with the possibility of the early detection of osteoporosis. Many questions regarding prevention of new fractures and prospects in the case of a positive test result were raised. The major themes were related to the consequences of knowing what might be hidden in the bones, and the responsibility to prevent illness.
The confrontation with the potential risk of osteoporosis provokes fear and worry in patients about living a daily life and anxiety about being treated as a sick person, but in return, it motivates patients to adopt a bone-healthy lifestyle. In general, patients prefer to be given knowledge of their bone health status over not knowing, and being able to seek further information on the condition they face.
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* Address correspondence to this author at the Diabetes and Hormone Diseases (DOH), Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark; Tel: +4526367281; Email: email@example.com