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Hip Replacement Research


Valerie E. M. Kendall

Saybrook University

This study is a qualitative exploration of the lived experience of five active Canadian women from 40-70 years of age, who underwent a first time total hip replacement (THP). The extensive literature search drew out numerous issues related to recovery, which were categorized under operative factors, social factors, and personal factors. Aware that the vast majority of studies evaluating the preparation and recovery from a total hip replacement had used scales, clinical scoring systems, health measures, and patient satisfaction ratings, the author sought a method to allow the patient's voice to come through.

The grounded theory approach allowed concepts to emerge from the experiential data, which included in-depth individual interviews, participant journals, field observations, and researcher reflective notes. Data were gathered approximately one week pre and four weeks post surgery, followed by a group interview when analysis was nearly completed. Analysis utilized coding, categorizing, and thematic conceptualization. Results conceptualized two patterns, one described three major components, which supported the patient in recovery: The character qualities of the patient, the personal support system and the medical system, while the other examined the reality of the experiential process though which the patient passed (i.e., pain and loss, delay, decision, confusion, preparation, delivery, and reclaiming self along with posttraumatic growth). The author considered a variety of perspectives emerging from the data, one of the most vexing ones being uneven leg lengths, a complication of THR requiring more research in order to assure leg length equality after THR. Another influential discovery was the benefit of a participant group meeting after the recovery, and participants felt this should be pursued. A significant contribution was the age-range of this group, which embraced the Baby Boomers, and the implications concomitant with that. This process suggested a unique metaphor of a woman having her first baby. Hence, the substantive grounded theory offered was "Rebirth, Regaining a Level Playing Field."

For further information about this research please contact Val Kendall

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