Case Study - Displaced Older Persons

Original Editors - Naomi O'Reilly

Top Contributors - Naomi O'Reilly      

Title[edit | edit source]

Post Fracture to collum femoris resulting from falling on a slippery surface.

Case study modified from the Physiotherapy and Refugees Education Programme. [1]

Abstract[edit | edit source]

Maria is is 69 year old female, who came to her country as a refugee with her husband 17 years ago. She is recovering from a collum femoris fracture after a falling on a slippery surface. During the course of your sessions she starts to discuss her background and her current situation, revealing that her husband if terminally ill with cancer.

Key Words [edit | edit source]

Refugee, Communication, Trauma, Conflict

Patient Characteristics[edit | edit source]

First Meeting[edit | edit source]

Maria, 69 years old, is referred to you at the orthopaedic department in the local hospital for physiotherapy after a fracture of her collum femoris resulting from falling on a slippery surface outside the grocery store. You meet her in her room, which she shares with one other lady. You are presented to her by the nurse that is the main contact in the department. She tells you during this meeting that she would prefer a female therapist, but since this is not possible due to a very heavy workload for other patients, she accepts, somewhat sceptical as you see it.

Second Meeting[edit | edit source]

Next meeting is in the group therapy room with other patients and therapists present. She tells you that she has pains in the fractured hip, but you know from her file that the operation went fine, so you inform her that this is normal at this stage. She is not well dressed for training, but on asking her, she tells you that this is the way she dresses. Gradually you feel that she warms to you and starts telling bits of her story. She tells you she came here with her husband, 11 years her senior, some 17 years ago as refugees. Her language level is not very high, but you feel that the two of you communicate well enough and decide not to ask for an interpreter. After some sessions she tells you she has to get well soon, her husband is in an institution with terminal cancer, and she must take care of him, as she is obliged to as his wife. Accepting that his life is coming to an end, she tells you that she feels a big dilemma about what to do when he passes away. Should she accept his wish to be buried in their home city, together with his parents and his two brothers that have passed away, leaving her and their two children and the grandchildren with no grave to visit here, or should she break her promise to him? To travel to their original home it would mean going back to a country where she suffered significant trauma escaping following conflict. Her country is still having difficulties and she has not returned there since arriving in this country.She asks for your view.....

References [edit | edit source]

  1. Physiotherapy and Refugees Education Programme. PREP Project (2018 - 2021) Available from (Accessed 20 May 2022)