Having Caregiving Responsibilities Affects Management of Fragility Fractures and Bone Health

July 2020

In a recent publication we examined how caregiving responsibilities were associated with, and possibly impacted by, the fracture experience and the resulting management of bone health. We conducted a secondary analysis of six qualitative studies to understand caregiver responsibilities and the relationship between these responsibilities and patients’ management of the fracture and bone health. Eligible individuals in the primary studies were English-speaking men and women who were 45+ years old, serving as informal caregivers, and recruited from three settings (local, provincial, and national).

Without being prompted to talk about their experience of caregiving, 33 of 145 (23%) individuals reported they were providing care to a family member or friend at the time of their fracture or during recovery post-fracture. The experience of having caregiving responsibilities was related to the fracture and bone health in two ways: 1) the caregiving role appeared to be a cause of the fracture in some participants; and 2) caregiving was prioritized over participants’ own bone health and was a barrier to bone health management.

We concluded that fragility fracture is associated with, and potentially leads to an impairment of, an important social role in patients providing physical and emotional support and supervision for dependents as caregivers. Further, an important cause of fragility fracture can occur in the act of caregiving.