Background Up to 40% of patients with suspected hip fracture report inadequate or no pre-hospital pain management. Morphine may raise risk of complications and may be avoided by paramedics. Fascia Iliaca Compartment Block (FICB) is used in Emergency Department and orthopaedic wards. The RAPID trial tested feasibility of paramedics administering FICB to patients with suspected hip fracture.
Objective To explore patients’ views and experience of care received for suspected hip fracture and in particular FICB before ambulance transport to hospital.
Method We interviewed six patients and the daughter of a patient who received FICB to manage their suspected hip fracture. Interviews, by telephone or face-to-face, were audio-recorded with consent. We conducted thematic analysis of transcripts. Two researchers, one paramedic and one lay member were in the analysis team
Results Respondents’ memory of prehospital care was dominated by their experience of extreme pain. While they recalled events before falling, they only had partial memory of care prior to hip surgery. Although they recalled paramedics’ arrival, which they reported was up to six hours after their injury, respondents said they remembered little else. Just one recalled consenting to receiving FICB and could describe the process. Other respondents said they were in too much pain to comprehend what occurred or respond coherently. They explained their priority was to receive pain management and they expected the paramedics to treat them safely and effectively. Respondents appeared to be a stoical and trusting group who accepted the treatment they were offered. They did recall high quality of care and praised paramedics for their reassuring and calm manner.
Conclusions Hip fracture patients’ overwhelming memory of injury and treatment was of pain and their priority was to receive pain relief. The quality of care, reassurance and administration of pain management was more important to patients than the mechanism of delivering the intervention.
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