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Fast-track program of elective joint replacement in hip and knee - Patients' experiences of the clinical pathway and care process

Journal article
Authors Urban Berg
Marie Berg
Ola Rolfson
Annette Erichsen Andersson
Published in Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research
Volume 14
Issue 1
ISSN 1749-799X
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Orthopaedics
Language en
Keywords Care process, Clinical pathway, Fast-track, Person-centered care, Quality of care, Total hip arthroplasty, Total knee arthroplasty, aged, article, clinical article, clinical outcome, content analysis, expectation, female, hospital discharge, hospitalization, human, interview, male, mobilization, multicenter study, patient satisfaction, qualitative research, remission, total hip replacement, uncertainty
Subject categories Orthopedics


Background: The clinical pathway and care program in elective total hip and knee replacement (THR/TKR) has, during the last decade, undergone considerable changes in many countries influenced by the concept of fast-track surgery, resulting in a very short hospital stay. Studies into patients' experiences of the entire fast-track program, from decision-making regarding surgery until recovery 3 months after surgery, are lacking. The aim of the study was to increase the knowledge about patients' experiences of the clinical pathway and care in a fast-track program of elective THR/TKR in order to identify factors that may influence recovery and clinical outcome. Methods: A qualitative research design was chosen with data collected from interviews 3 months after surgery and analyzed using an inductive content analysis method. In total, 24 patients from three hospitals with a fast-track care program were included in the study: 14 women and 10 men, 13 with THR and 11 with TKR. The mean age was 65 years (range 44-85). Results: The analysis identified three chronological phases in the clinical pathway: preparation, hospital stay for surgery, and recovery. In the preparation phase, patients' experiences and involvement in the planning of the operation were highlighted. The need to know the risks and expectations of recovery and outcome were also central, although there was great diversity in needs for information and involvement. In the hospital stay for the surgery phase, there were mainly positive experiences regarding admission, early mobilization, and early discharge. Experiences about the recovery phase focused on management of daily life, rehabilitation program, and recovery. Rehabilitation involved uncertainty as to whether or not the progress was normal. The recovery phase was also filled with questions about unfulfilled expectations. Regardless of the different phases, we found the importance of a person-centered care to be a pervasive theme. Conclusion: Our study supports the view that a person-centered approach, from surgery decision until recovery, is an important element in optimizing care in a THR and TKR fast-track care program. More focus on the period after hospital discharge may improve recovery, patient satisfaction, and functional outcome. © 2019 The Author(s).

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