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Considering the psychological experience of amputation and rehabilitation for military veterans: A systematic review and metasynthesis of qualitative research

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

E-pub ahead of print
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/03/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Disability and Rehabilitation
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)1-20
Publication StatusE-pub ahead of print
Early online date1/03/23
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Research highlights the differences and unique experiences of military veterans experiencing amputation compared to civilians. This review aimed to synthesise qualitative research exploring the experience of amputation and rehabilitation among existing or previous members of the military. A systematic search of six databases (PsycINFO, AMED, MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science and Scopus) was undertaken in March 2022. The results of 17 papers reporting 12 studies published between 2009 and 2022 were synthesised using a meta-ethnographic approach to generate new interpretations reflecting the experiences of members of the military who have experienced limb loss. Three themes were developed from the data: (1) Making the physical and psychological transition to life after amputation; (2) The role of the military culture in rehabilitation; and (3) The impact of relationships and the gaze of others during rehabilitation and beyond. Military veterans with limb loss experience difficulties in navigating civilian healthcare systems and gaining appropriate support away from the military. Rehabilitation professionals, with psychological training or mentoring, involved in the care of military veterans following amputation could offer psychological support during the transition to civilian life and targeted therapies to veterans experiencing high levels of pain, and facilitate peer support programmes.