The influence of environment: Experiences of users of myoelectric arm prosthesis-a qualitative study

Cathrine Widehammar, Ingvor Pettersson, Gunnel Janeslätt, Liselotte Hermansson
Prosthetics and Orthotics International 2018, 42 (1): 28-36

BACKGROUND: Prostheses are used to varying degrees; however, little is known about how environmental aspects influence this use.

OBJECTIVES: To describe users' experiences of how environmental factors influence their use of a myoelectric arm prosthesis.

STUDY DESIGN: Qualitative and descriptive.

METHODS: A total of 13 patients previously provided with a myoelectric prosthetic hand participated. Their age, sex, deficiency level, etiology, current prosthesis use, and experience varied. Semi-structured interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed through inductive content analysis.

RESULTS: Four categories were created from the data: "Prosthesis function," "Other people's attitudes," "Support from family and healthcare," and "Individual's attitude and strategies." The overarching theme, "Various degrees of embodiment lead to different experiences of environmental barriers and facilitators," emerged from differences in individual responses depending on whether the individual was a daily or a non-daily prosthesis user. Environmental facilitators such as support from family and healthcare and good function and fit of the prosthesis seemed to help the embodiment of the prosthesis, leading to daily use. This embodiment seemed to reduce the influence of environmental barriers, for example, climate, attitudes, and technical shortcomings.

CONCLUSION: Embodiment of prostheses seems to reduce the impact of environmental barriers. Support and training may facilitate the embodiment of myoelectric prosthesis use. Clinical relevance For successful prosthetic rehabilitation, environmental factors such as support and information to the patient and their social network about the benefits of prosthesis use are important. Local access to training in myoelectric control gives more people the opportunity to adapt to prosthesis use and experience less environmental barriers.


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