An exploration of specialist clinicians’ experiences and beliefs about inpatient amputee rehabilitation as a pathway option for adult primary amputees
Minns Lowe, Catherine
Purpose: To explore specialist amputee physiotherapists’ experiences and subsequent views about specialist inpatient rehabilitation (IPR) as a National Health Service (NHS) pathway option for adult primary amputees and their perceptions and beliefs about the effects of inpatient amputee rehabilitation. Materials and methods: A qualitative study using a phenomenological approach. Semi-structured interviews were completed with seven physiotherapists experienced in working in both specialist amputee inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings. Interviews were audio-recorded and fully transcribed. Data were analysed using thematic analyses; inductive coding was completed; emerging themes are shown and a conceptual framework was developed. To promote rigour, this study was peer reviewed and coding was done by two people. Results: Clinicians believed inpatient amputee rehabilitation to be the preferred model of rehabilitation for the majority of adult primary amputees. A central theme of healthcare inequality within primary amputee rehabilitation provision emerged with four sub-themes: IPR, outpatient rehabilitation, barriers, the ideal world. Geographical variation was described in: type of rehabilitation provided, timescales of prosthetic rehabilitation provision, fitting a prosthesis with wounds, and the availability of community rehabilitation services. Conclusions: Healthcare inequality is a central concern identified by clinicians who work within amputee rehabilitation in the UK. Clinicians interviewed believe NHS specialist amputee inpatient rehabilitation should be a more accessible pathway. Implications for rehabilitation Clinicians believe healthcare inequality exists within primary amputee rehabilitation provision in the UK National Health Service (NHS). Geographical variation in type of care provision, fitting a prosthesis with wounds, timescales in prosthetic rehabilitation provision and community rehabilitation services were described. Clinicians believe inpatient amputee rehabilitation to be the preferred model of care for the majority of adult primary amputees and should be a more accessible pathway within the NHS. Inpatient rehabilitation facilities may be a way of compensating for amputee rehabilitation inequalities.