Logo for the Journal of Rehab R and D

Volume 46 Number 3, 2009
   Pages 293 — 304

Abstract - Lower-limb amputee needs assessment using multistakeholder focus-group approach

Glenn K. Klute, PhD;1-2* Carole Kantor, MS;3 Chris Darrouzet, PhD;4 Helga Wild, PhD;4 Susann Wilkinson, MSW, MPH;4 Suzana Iveljic, MBA;3 Graham Creasey, MD, FRCSEd3

1Center of Excellence for Limb Loss Prevention and Prosthetic Engineering, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA; 2Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; 3Advanced Platform Technology Center, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, Cleveland, OH; 4Water Cooler Logic Inc, Menlo Park, CA

Abstract —  To assess the needs of lower-limb amputees and identify differences between diabetic dysvascular amputees and traumatic amputees, we held a multistakeholder focus-group workshop whose participants included veteran lower-limb amputees, clinicians, researchers, and prosthetic device manufacturers. We conducted the initial workshop sessions as traditional focus-group meetings with homogeneous participant groups generating lists of issues relevant to the individual groups. Subsequent sessions assembled heterogeneous participant groups for a two-phase approach: Discovery and Codesign. The Discovery phase used observation and discussion to elicit specific needs. The Codesign phase focused on emergent topics and explored potential solutions. The participants identified needs associated with desired improvements to the socket system, foot and ankle components, and alignment with the residual limb. One need was a comprehensive understanding of the recovery path following amputation that could be addressed through enhanced education and communication. Another need was remote monitoring systems that could potentially improve quality of care. No dichotomy of needs between diabetic dysvascular amputees and traumatic amputees was evident among the participants of this workshop. The lively, open-ended discussions produced numerous suggestions for improving amputee quality of life that are listed to facilitate future research and development.

Key words: amputation, amputee, artificial limb, diabetes, focus group, lower limb, needs assessment, prosthesis, rehabilitation, trauma.


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