Screening for Underlying Osteoporosis in Fragility Fracture Patients: The Patients Perspective

The Open Nursing Journal 31 Jan 2019 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874434601913010010



Early detection and treatment of osteoporosis are essential in preventing fractures and fracture-related morbidity and mortality. Fractures beget fractures and it is relevant, well-documented and beneficial to target osteoporosis screening in patients already suffering from a fracture. The associated increased number of patients being confronted with a potential diagnosis of osteoporosis makes it worth considering how this affects patients.


The aim of this study was to explore fracture patients’ experiences when confronted with the option of being screened for osteoporosis as the underlying reason of their fracture.


In a phenomenological hermeneutic framework, semi-structured interviews were performed in 15 fragiligty fracture patients being offered screening for osteoporosis. Analysis inspired by Ricoeur consisting of naive reading, structural analysis, critical analysis and discussion was applied.


Fracture patients were condemned to make a choice when confronted with the possibility of the early detection of osteoporosis. Many questions regarding prevention of new fractures and prospects in the case of a positive test result were raised. The major themes were related to the consequences of knowing what might be hidden in the bones, and the responsibility to prevent illness.


The confrontation with the potential risk of osteoporosis provokes fear and worry in patients about living a daily life and anxiety about being treated as a sick person, but in return, it motivates patients to adopt a bone-healthy lifestyle. In general, patients prefer to be given knowledge of their bone health status over not knowing, and being able to seek further information on the condition they face.

Keywords: Fragility fracture, Osteoporosis, Patient experiences, Phenomenological hermeneutic, Interview, Screening intervention.
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