What is it like to use hip protectors? : A qualitative study of the views and experiences of nurses and patients
Objectives: To explore the views and experiences of nursing staff and patients about using hip protectors in in-patient clinical wards. Design and method: Qualitative, cross-sectional study. Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were carried out with nurses and patients. All data were analysed using the 'Framework' method. Setting: Two dementia and two enduring mental health problem wards within an NHS Trust. Sample: Nurses (n = 22) and patients (n = 16). Findings: Patients and staff supported the use of hip protectors, because they: (1) were perceived to reduce falls-related injuries, (2) lessen anxiety around falls, and (3) provide patients with confidence to mobilise unaided. However, there was concern that hip protectors can reduce patients' ability to dress and use the toilet unaided. Some patients find protectors uncomfortable and hot, particularly in bed. Nurses in dementia wards reported that patients forget they are wearing the intervention, and that patients remove the protector once it is in position. Conclusions: The successful utilisation of hip protectors is dependent on: (1) the degree to which patients accept the purpose of the protector and any resultant discomfort and adverse impact on their independence; and (2) the ability of nursing staff to explain the benefits of the intervention, and to monitor its correct usage.