University of Limerick
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‘If he thought that I was going to go and hurt myself, he had another thing coming’: Treatment experiences of those with large to massive rotator cuff tears and the perspectives of healthcare practitioners

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-07, 08:55 authored by Kathryn FahyKathryn Fahy, Rose GalvinRose Galvin, Jeremy Lewis, Karen Mc CreeshKaren Mc Creesh

Objective: To explore the treatment experiences of those diagnosed with large to massive rotator cuff tears and the perspectives of healthcare practitioners providing their care. Design: A qualitative descriptive study using reflexive thematic analysis. Setting: In-person focus groups were undertaken in a clinical setting (private practice [n=1]; public out-patient [n =2]). Semi-structured interviews were conducted online via Microsoft Teams. Participants: Patients diagnosed with these tears (n=12) and healthcare practitioners (n=11). Results: Two interlinking themes were identified based on the care received and provided for patients with symptomatic large to massive rotator cuff tears: 1) Positive treatment experiences and management: Education, clear communication and reassurance around prognosis were the foundation of positive patient–clinician care. Sub-themes of pain relief, exercise prescription and confidence in their pathway underpinned this experience. This proficiency in care was affirmed by some healthcare practitioners who spoke about the importance of confidence and experience in their management plan even in times of poor progress. 2) Negative treatment experiences and management: Uncertainty, delays and exacerbation of pain flawed the patient–clinician care. Sub-themes of inappropriate pain relief, inappropriate exercise prescription and uncertainty impacted their care. Some healthcare practitioners acknowledged knowledge gaps led to uncertainty especially when choosing the next step of care and were quick to escalate care to deflect this uncertainty. Conclusions: The findings suggest discordance exists between the patient’s experiences and expectations when the delivery of care was by less experienced and confident healthcare practitioners in the management of this condition. This highlights the need for improved education and support for healthcare practitioners.



Clinical Rehabilitation



Other Funding information

Irish Research Council Postgraduate Scholarship

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  • (3) Good Health and Well-being

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  • Allied Health

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