Understanding decision-making in prosthetic rehabilitation by prosthetists and people with lower limb amputation: a qualitative study

Chelsey B. Anderson, Andrew J. Kittelson, Shane R. Wurdeman, Matthew J. Miller, Jason W. Stoneback, Cory L. Christiansen, Dawn M. Magnusson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Little has been published about the process of decision-making between prosthetists and people with lower limb amputation (LLA). The purpose of this study is to identify decisions and factors influencing decision-making in prosthetic rehabilitation from the perspectives of prosthetists and prosthesis users, to identify barriers and opportunities for shared decision-making (SDM). Methods: Qualitative semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with 13 prosthetists and 14 prosthesis users from three clinics in three states of the Rocky Mountain and Southwest regions of the United States. Transcripts were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Four main themes were identified: perceived decision points, importance of relationship, balancing competing priorities, and experience. Contrasts between perceptions of prosthetists and prosthesis users were related to prosthesis design decisions, and the purpose of communication (e.g., goals for a prosthesis vs. goals informing prosthesis design). Both prosthetists and prosthesis users described balancing priorities that contribute to prosthetic rehabilitation decisions, and the role of experience for informing realistic expectations and preferences necessary for participating in decision-making. Conclusion: Opportunities for improving SDM between prosthetists and prosthesis users include (1) clarifying key rehabilitation decisions, (2) identifying the purpose of initial communications, (3) support for balancing priorities, and (4) utilizing experience to achieve informed preferences.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Many people with lower limb amputation experience poor physical function and psychosocial outcomes, which may be further compounded by under informed prosthesis-user expectations for function with a prosthesis. Shared decision-making offers an opportunity for improving realistic prosthesis-user expectations, reducing healthcare costs, and improving prosthesis-user satisfaction and adherence to care plans. Opportunities for improving shared decision-making between prosthetists and prosthesis-users include (1) clarifying key rehabilitation decisions, (2) identifying the purpose of initial communications, (3) support for balancing priorities, and (4) utilizing experience to achieve informed preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-732
Number of pages10
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2023

Keywords

  • amputation
  • Decision-making
  • prosthesis user
  • prosthetic
  • prosthetist
  • rehabilitation
  • Prosthesis Implantation
  • Humans
  • Amputation, Surgical
  • Artificial Limbs
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Lower Extremity/surgery

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