Trajectories of need: Understanding patients’ use of support during the journey through knee replacement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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Purpose: To explore how the process of undergoing and recovering from knee replacement surgery alters patients’ experiences and use of their support networks.

Methods: Ten patients having knee replacement surgery for osteoarthritis were invited to take part in in-depth interviews prior to surgery and 2–4 weeks, 6 and 12 months post-operatively. Transcripts were analyzed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.

Results: Three superordinate themes were identified: (1) relationships with health professionals over the knee replacement journey; (2) implications for informal relationships and support networks and (3) providing support to others.

Conclusions: Transformation from a person with osteoarthritis to someone recovering from a surgical intervention can lead to alterations in the source, type and level of support people receive from others, and can also change the assistance that they themselves are able to offer. Findings highlight the value of the concept of interdependence to our understanding of participants’ experiences. Activity undertaken by informal support networks assists participants to cope with the consequences of osteoarthritis and surgery, and fills in the gap when more formal support is lacking. However, it is essential that provision of care is individually tailored and that formal support is adequate at times when informal support networks are unavailable.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2550-2563
Number of pages14
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number26
Early online date10 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2016


  • Healthcare
  • orthopaedics
  • knee replacement
  • relationships
  • social support

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