“If you’ve never been through it, you can’t understand” An IPA exploration of prosthetist-patient communication


  • C. Uytman
  • C. McVittie
  • K. Goodall


Background: To explore the understanding of the experience of limb loss and prosthesis use from the patient and practitioner perspective. Method: 15 individuals post amputation and 13 prosthetists were interviewed on their experience of limb loss and prosthesis use. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to gain a subjective understanding of their experience and comparisons made between each group. Findings: Four key themes were identified. The current paper focuses on Communication. The importance of communication in the adjustment to amputation and prosthesis use is discussed. Negative impact of ineffective communication within this partnership is highlighted. The discrepancies in understanding found in this research highlights areas which would benefit from further application of psychological expertise in both clinical practice and education. Discussion: Communication is a key issue in adjustment to amputation. Each party in this research expressed a specific expectation of the rehabilitation, clinical process and relationship. Prosthetists express a tendency to play multiple support roles within this relationship often with little appropriate clinical training which may have an impact on rehabilitative outcome. Patients’ understanding of these roles as well as their expectations has the potential to play a large part in the subsequent rehabilitation of individuals following amputation. A greater understanding of this influence and of the lived experience of these participants will shed light on this area and allow suggestions for clinical practice to be made.





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