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Being bedridden was a slow process influenced by interactions with the environment, nurses, and social tiesCommentary

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A Zegelin

Dr A Zegelin, Private University Witten/Herdecke, Witten, Germany; zegelin@uni-wh.de

QUESTION

What are the experiences of people who become bedridden?

DESIGN

Grounded theory.

SETTING

Nursing homes and personal residences in Witten, Germany.

PARTICIPANTS

32 people who were 62–98 years of age (59% women), had chronic illnesses, were bedridden for 2 weeks to 4 years, and had had the option during this time of being able to get up.

METHODS

30-minute semistructured interviews were recorded, transcribed, and analysed using a grounded theory approach.

MAIN FINDINGS

Phase 1: instability. All patients reported problems while walking before they became immobile (eg, “shaky,” “dizzy”). Some used a walking stick or a rollator when leaving the house. Most patients only moved around inside the house, supporting themselves on furniture, and all had fallen at some stage. Phase 2: incident. All patients had a hospital stay and/or a fall, which reduced their mobility. Patients remained passive and withdrew to their beds, not knowing where else to go. Transfer situation. How patients were transferred affected how often they got up. If carers seemed weak, incompetent, or complaining or if 2 carers were needed to make the transfer, patients reduced their demands. …

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