|Institution:||University of Stirling|
|Keywords:||Prosthetics; Decision Making; Patient Involvement; Prosthetist; Trauma; Amputation; Veteran; Civilian; Prosthesis; Veterans; Amputees Rehabilitation; Amputees; Prosthesis; Patient participation|
|Full text PDF:||http://hdl.handle.net/1893/22705|
Background Recent conflicts have seen an increase in trauma related military amputees who incur complex injuries which result in varied residual limbs. In many cases these amputees have been provided with state of the art (SOTA) components with the expectation that they will transfer into NHS care after military discharge. However, there is a lack of knowledge around how prosthetic prescriptions are made in both the MOD and NHS, including patient involvement. It is important to explore prosthetic prescription decisions to enhance the quality, consistency and equity of care delivery for trauma amputees. This thesis explores decision making in prosthetic care for trauma amputees in the UK during this period of change. Aims To explore aspects of prosthetic care provision in the UK including clinical decision making, patient experience and the transition of prosthetic care from the MOD to the NHS. Design An exploratory qualitative project informed by decision making and patient involvement theory. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with nineteen clinical staff involved in prosthetic provision, six civilian and five veteran trauma amputees. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Findings Prosthetists used a wide range of factors in making prescription decisions, including physical characteristics, patients’ goals, and predicted activity levels. Prescription decision making varied depending on the prosthetists’ level of experience and the different ‘cues’ identified. In some cases there was a lack of transparency about drivers for the prescription choice. Prescription decisions are influenced by long term relationships between prosthetist and patient, allowing a trial and error approach with increasing patient involvement over time. Patient experiences of their trauma amputation influenced their approach to rehabilitation. Patients reported wanting different levels of involvement in their prosthetic care, however, communication was essential for all. Veteran amputees benefited from peer support opportunities which NHS services were less conducive to. However, NHS amputees were more likely to have been ‘involved’ in care decisions. The expectations that MOD patients had of inferior care in the NHS were not realised in the majority of veteran cases. Recommendations Research is needed to support prosthetists’ decisions to become more consistent and transparent. The NHS should consider introducing a peer support model for trauma patients, and particularly in the early stages of rehabilitation.