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BACKGROUND: Increase in life-expectancy is not necessarily matched by an increase in quality of life. OBJECTIVE: (1) To explore the quality of life of patients over the age of 85 in the second decade following unicompartmental knee replacement surgery (2) To understand the usefulness of a priori themes from an evidence synthesis as a framework for primary qualitative analysis. DESIGN: Qualitative Research. A hermeneutic phenomenological approach, using a priori themes as sensitising concepts. PARTICIPANTS: Adults over the age of 85 who were part of an outcomes study in the second decade following unicompartmental knee joint replacement. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews in people's homes. Transcripts were coded and data sorted using a priori themes as sensitising concepts. Data that did not fit these themes, or that added nuance, were analysed thematically through constant comparison. RESULTS: We interviewed seven white women and five white men, aged 85-100. Data resonated with a priori themes and supported additional themes that help us to understand older peoples' experience: (1) losing our autonomy can be challenging, so be kind; (2) we must take care of our own bodies and the NHS; (3) I am more afraid of not dying. CONCLUSIONS: Findings indicate that health outcomes for older people should incorporate measures of participation and well-being; they highlight the importance of kindness in healthcare; they indicate that older people do not want to place additional burden on the NHS, and this can act as a barrier to care; they support the need for open conversations about dying well.

Original publication




Journal article


Age ageing

Publication Date



Ageing, Hermeneutics, older people, qualitative research, quality of life