An investigation of the variables affecting patient prosthetic satisfaction
Through whatever misfortune people have always had the need for artificial limbs. This study questions current thinking in the field of prosthetics, aiming to address the most prevalent issues affecting the amputee today, such as, fit, comfort and practicality, which have an inarguable baring on patient prostheses satisfaction. Through examination, more obscure problems encountered by users were explained, indicating how design issues and methodologies affect the present and future manufacturing process. As a result of this research a development model for the increased effectiveness of prostheses fitrnent and improvements in patient prosthetic satisfaction have been made. This has included suggestions for potential improvements in limb fitting center protocol, patient education and awareness strategies for the assessment of delivered patient needs and requirements Methods implemented during the research consisted of a comprehensive literature review of current infonnation, technical reports and patient satisfaction findings and assessment techniques. 1bis was accompanied with an investigation and evaluation of the prosthetics industry, including limb fitting, patient requirements, product/service shortfalls, rehabilitation technique and patient lifestyle. Additionally interviews and questionnaires with practitioners and users were undertaken aiding the evaluation of patient satisfaction and the identification of potential improvements in artificial limb fitment procedure. The results revealed several areas that deserved more detailed investigation, notably relating to the hypotheses, that the relationship between the levels of fit, comfort and practicality archived within the prostheses has an effect on the patient's satisfaction. Through the examination ofthis main hypothesis one of the most significant factors which emerged was the effect ofthe communication level held between the patient and prosthetist. The results of"this enquiry indicated that improved patient knowledge with respect oftheir situation and an increased ability to accurately relay issues of concern to the prosthetist, facilitated the delivery of satisfactory prostheses, in turn improving its fit, comfort and practicality. In conclusion, previous conjecture as to the limited effectiveness of current prosthetics in re-establishing patients activity levels were assessed, and suggestions generated by the results of patients dissatisfaction with their limbs. These findings facilitated the realisation of new educational, protocol-based methodologies, tools and theories.