An analysis of publicly available National Health Service information leaflets for patients following an upper arm break

Pauline May*, Gillian Yeowell, Louise Connell, Chris Littlewood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Recovery following an upper arm break can be prolonged and cause loss of independence. Appropriate information provision to empower and enable active participation in rehabilitation is vital to achieve the best clinical outcomes. Objectives: To identify and analyse, through the lens of health literacy, publicly available information leaflets produced for patients following upper arm breaks in the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) to understand their fitness for purpose. Method: An electronic search of online search engines was undertaken using search terms to identify information leaflets for upper arm breaks. Relevant leaflets were retrieved and a thematic analysis was undertaken from a health literacy perspective. To complement this, each information leaflet was also formally assessed for readability. Results: Thirty-five information leaflets were analysed. Two main themes were generated: ‘Empowerment’ and ‘Language Use’, with subthemes of promoting recovery, readability and risk of misinterpretation. The information presented in these leaflets was often complicated and sometimes contradictory. Less than half (46%) of the information leaflets were presented at a level that would be understood by the general population. Conclusions: Current information leaflets made available for patients following upper arm breaks are not fit for purpose and are written in a way that the general population would not readily understand. There is an urgent need to understand the information needs of patients and present such information in an accessible way to optimise clinical outcomes following upper arm breaks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102531
Pages (from-to)1-5
JournalMusculoskeletal Science and Practice
Early online date19 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2022


  • Patient information leaflet
  • Proximal humerus fracture
  • Readability
  • Upper arm break


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