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‘Don't you talk to your prosthetist?’: communicational problems in the prescription of artificial limbs

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>03/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>Disability and Rehabilitation
Issue number6
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)513-521
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Purpose: People with lower-limb amputations are routinely fitted with an artificial limb. Good communication with prosthetists is vital in meeting patients’ needs in this process. The present study aimed to identify the salient issues surrounding problematic interaction between patients and prosthetists from the point of view of patients. Method: Three on-line discussion groups for people with lower-limb amputations were searched for all posts which discussed such issues. A total of 527 electronic messages comprised the data set, from 155 authors. All data served as the basis for analysis. Results: A phenomenologically-informed thematic analysis identified three themes: ‘Becoming a prosthesis user: Not knowing what to expect’; ‘Unmet expectations: Trying to get the prosthetist to do something’; and ‘Working with your prosthetist: The need to communicate well’. The presented results are illustrated with posts from 25 participants. Conclusions: The results indicate the need to improve communication between prosthetists and patients, including that prosthetists should strive to share more information, to communicate in more understandable language and to provide more opportunities for patients to make choices in the prosthesis prescription process.

Implications for Rehabilitation
Following amputation people are routinely fitted with an artificial limb as part of the rehabilitative process.

The present study indicates the need to improve communication between prosthetists and patients.

Patients need to receive more information and to be better supported in making choices in the prosthesis prescription process.

There is a difficulty in bridging the gap between prosthetists’ and patients’ understandings of the embodied experience of prosthesis use and the prescription process which warrants further attention.