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An analysis of publicly available National Health Service information leaflets for patients following an upper arm break

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Abstract

Background Recovery following an upper arm break can be prolonged and cause loss of independence. Appropriate information provision to empower and enable active participation in rehabilitation is vital to achieve the best clinical outcomes. Objectives To identify and analyse, through the lens of health literacy, publicly available information leaflets produced for patients following upper arm breaks in the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) to understand their fitness for purpose. Method An electronic search of online search engines was undertaken using search terms to identify information leaflets for upper arm breaks. Relevant leaflets were retrieved and a thematic analysis was undertaken from a health literacy perspective. To complement this, each information leaflet was also formally assessed for readability. Results Thirty-five information leaflets were analysed. Two main themes were generated: ‘Empowerment’ and ‘Language Use’, with subthemes of promoting recovery, readability and risk of misinterpretation. The information presented in these leaflets was often complicated and sometimes contradictory. Less than half (46%) of the information leaflets were presented at a level that would be understood by the general population. Conclusions Current information leaflets made available for patients following upper arm breaks are not fit for purpose and are written in a way that the general population would not readily understand. There is an urgent need to understand the information needs of patients and present such information in an accessible way to optimise clinical outcomes following upper arm breaks.

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Full text available at http://nam.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Considerations-for-a-New-Definition-of-Health-Literacy.pdf
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With the aging of the world's population, the social and economic implications of osteoporotic fractures are at epidemic proportions. This study was performed to test the hypothesis that a proximal humeral fracture is an independent risk factor for a subsequent hip fracture and that the risk of the subsequent hip fracture is highest within the first five years after the humeral fracture. A cohort of 8049 older white women with no history of a hip or humeral fracture who were enrolled in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures was followed for a mean of 9.8 years. The risk of hip fracture after an incident humeral fracture was estimated with use of age-adjusted Cox proportional hazards regression analysis with time-varying variables; women without a humeral fracture were the reference group. Cox regression analysis was used to evaluate the timing between the proximal humeral and subsequent hip fracture. Risk factors were determined on the basis of a review of the current literature, and we chose the variables that were most predictive and easily ascertained in a clinical setting. Three hundred and twenty-one women sustained a proximal humeral fracture, and forty-four of them sustained a subsequent hip fracture. After adjustment for age and bone mineral density, the hazard ratio for hip fracture for subjects with a proximal humeral fracture relative to those without a proximal humeral fracture was 1.83 (95% confidence interval = 1.32 to 2.53). After multivariate adjustment, this risk appeared attenuated but was still significant (hazard ratio = 1.57; 95% confidence interval = 1.12 to 2.19). The risk of a subsequent hip fracture after a proximal humeral fracture was highest within one year after the proximal humeral fracture, with a hazard ratio of 5.68 (95% confidence interval = 3.70 to 8.73). This association between humeral and hip fracture was not significant after the first year, with hazard ratios of 0.87 (95% confidence interval = 0.48 to 1.59) between one and five years after the humeral fracture and 0.58 (95% confidence interval = 0.22 to 1.56) after five years. In this cohort of older white women, a proximal humeral fracture independently increased the risk of a subsequent hip fracture more than five times in the first year after the humeral fracture but was not associated with a significant increase in the hip fracture risk in subsequent years.
Article
Fracture of the proximal humerus is one of the most frequent fractures attributable to osteoporosis; yet, it has seldom been studied. Two types of factors (related to bone fragility and falls) were evaluated to identify risk factors for proximal humerus fractures as well as to examine possible interactions between them. Subjects were 6901 white women aged > or =75 years and all participated in the EPIDOS study of risk factors for osteoporotic fractures (France, 1992-1998). The baseline examination included measurements of femoral neck bone mineral density (BMD) and calcaneal ultrasound parameters (speed of sound [SOS] and broadband ultrasound attenuation [BUA]), a functional clinical examination, and completing a questionnaire on health status and lifestyle. During a mean of 3.6 (0.8) years of follow-up, 165 women had a humeral fracture. Using multivariate Cox regression models, we identified three predictors related to bone fragility-low BMD (relative risk [RR] = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.1-1.7), low SOS (RR = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.0-1.6), and maternal history of hip fracture (RR = 1.8; 95% CI, 1.0-3.0)-and four fall-related predictors-a previous fall (RR = 3.0; 95% CI, 1.5-6.1), a low level of physical activity (RR = 2.2; 95% CI, 1.1-4.4), impaired balance (RR = 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-2.9), and pain in lower limb extremity (RR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0-2.1). The effect of these fall-related predictors varied according to the BMD level; they were significantly associated with proximal humerus fractures in women with osteoporosis (BMD T score < -2.5) but not in nonosteoporotic women. The incidence of proximal humerus fracture in women with osteoporosis and a low fall risk score (5.1 per 1000 woman-years) was only slightly higher than in nonosteoporotic women (4.6 per 1000 woman-years) and similar to the incidence in women without osteoporosis but a high fall risk score (5.3 per 1000 woman-years). On the other hand, the incidence in women who had both types of risk factors was more than two times higher (12.1 per 1000 woman-years) than in women with only one of the two risk factors. These results suggest that women who have both types of risk factors should receive the highest priority for prevention.
Article
Unlabelled: We sought to determine current trends in the number of fall-related and osteoporosis-related proximal humeral fractures in elderly Finns during last three decades. We collected data from the National Hospital Discharge Register on all patients 60 years or older who were admitted to Finnish hospitals from 1970 to 2002 for primary treatment of proximal humeral fractures. Fractures induced by traffic accidents or other high-energy traumas were excluded. The number and incidence (per 100,000 patients) of fractures increased from 208 (number) and 32 (incidence) in 1970 to 1120 (number) and 105 (incidence) in 2002. The age adjusted incidence of proximal humeral fractures also showed an increase, from 51 (1970) to 129 (2002) in women, and from 14 (1970) to 48 (2002) in men. In women 80 years or older, the age specific incidence of fracture increased from 90 (1970) to 294 (2002), while in the other age groups trend changes were less extensive. The mean patient age also increased, from 73 years (1970) to 78 years (2002) in women and from 70 years (1970) to 73 years (2002) in men. If these trends continue, the number of fractures in elderly Finns will triple during the next three decades. Level of evidence: Prognostic study, Level IV (case series). See the Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
Article
The epidemiology of adult fractures is changing quickly. An analysis of 5953 fractures reviewed in a single orthopaedic trauma unit in 2000 showed that there are eight different fracture distribution curves into which all fractures can be placed. Only two fracture curves involve predominantly young patients; the other six show an increased incidence of fractures in older patients. It is popularly assumed that osteoporotic fractures are mainly seen in the thoracolumbar spine, proximal femur, proximal humerus and distal radius, but analysis of the data indicates that 14 different fractures should now be considered to be potentially osteoporotic. About 30% of fractures in men, 66% of fractures in women and 70% of inpatient fractures are potentially osteoporotic.
Article
'Have I got a fracture or a break doctor?' remains a commonly posed question in fracture clinics, suggesting that patients frequently feel a 'fracture' and a 'break' are two separate entities. This apparent misconception amongst fracture clinic patients may result in confusion and occasionally anger that doctors appear to have inconsistent views on the severity of their injury. Compliance and outcome of patient care can also be affected by poor communication. Our questionnaire-based study was conducted in two stages. The initial objective was to establish whether this misconception surrounding the words 'fracture' and 'break' is commonly held amongst our out-patient trauma patients. The second stage of the audit was to determine whether a patient information leaflet on fractures/broken bones could help reduce this misconception. The preliminary audit involving 50 new patients attending our fracture clinic showed that 84% thought there was a difference between a 'fracture' and a 'break', with 68% believing a 'break' to be worse than a 'fracture'. Following the introduction of an information leaflet, a re-audit of 61 new patients took place. This time 67% felt there was a difference between a 'fracture' and a 'break', with 65% believing a 'break' to be worse than a 'fracture'. Only 21% had read the supplied information leaflet, and 69% of those still believed there was a difference between a 'fracture' and a 'break'. The majority of patients believed that there was a difference between a 'fracture' and a 'break'. Access to information leaflets did not appear to alter this misconception. Verbal communication and explanation may be more beneficial and practical than visual aids and leaflets in overcoming this problem.
Article
The nocebo effect is a phenomenon that is opposite to the placebo effect, whereby expectation of a negative outcome may lead to the worsening of a symptom. Thus far, its study has been limited by ethical constraints, particularly in patients, as a nocebo procedure is per se stressful and anxiogenic. It basically consists in delivering verbal suggestions of negative outcomes so that the subject expects clinical worsening. Although some natural nocebo situations do exist, such as the impact of negative diagnoses upon the patient and the patient's distrust in a therapy, the neurobiological mechanisms have been understood in the experimental setting under strictly controlled conditions. As for the placebo counterpart, the study of pain has been fruitful in recent years to understand both the neuroanatomical and the neurochemical bases of the nocebo effect. Recent experimental evidence indicates that negative verbal suggestions induce anticipatory anxiety about the impending pain increase, and this verbally-induced anxiety triggers the activation of cholecystokinin (CCK) which, in turn, facilitates pain transmission. CCK-antagonists have been found to block this anxiety-induced hyperalgesia, thus opening up the possibility of new therapeutic strategies whenever pain has an important anxiety component. Other conditions, such as Parkinson's disease, although less studied, have been found to be affected by nocebo suggestions as well. All these findings underscore the important role of cognition in the therapeutic outcome, and suggest that nocebo and nocebo-related effects might represent a point of vulnerability both in the course of a disease and in the response to a therapy.
Thematic analysis. APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology
  • V Braun
  • V Clarke
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2012). Thematic analysis. APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology, 2. https://doi.org/10.1037/13620-004