Suitability of "guidelines for screening of prosthetic candidates : lower limb" for the Eastern Cape, South Africa: a qualitative study

Mduzana, Luphiwo L. ; Visagie, Surona ; Mji, Gubela (2018)

CITATION: Mduzana, L. L., Visagie, S. & Mji, G. 2018. Suitability of guidelines for screening of prosthetic candidates : lower limb for the Eastern Cape, South Africa: a qualitative study. South African Journal of Physiotherapy 74(1):a396, doi:10.4102/sajp.v74i1.396.

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Background: Major lower limb amputation has a severe impact on functional mobility. Mobility can be salvaged with a prosthesis, but this is not always the best option. It is often difficult to decide whether to refer someone for a prosthesis or not. A prosthetic screening tool ‘Guidelines for Screening of Prosthetic Candidates: Lower Limb’ was developed and is used for prosthetic prescription in parts of the Western Cape province of South Africa. Objectives: This study aimed to explore the suitability of the tool ‘Guidelines for Screening of Prosthetic Candidates: Lower Limb’ for use in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. Method: A qualitative study was conducted with conveniently sampled occupational therapists (OTs) (n = 10), physiotherapists (PTs) (n = 12) and prosthetists (n = 6) in government employment in the Buffalo City Metro Municipality. Participants were trained in the use of the tool and used it for four weeks with patients. Their experiences of the tool were assessed through three focus group discussions with emergent themes being identified during inductive data analysis. Findings: Participants indicated that the tool could assist with prosthetic prescription, goal setting, communication and teamwork. They thought that the tool was multidisciplinary in nature, comprehensive and practical. Findings showed a lack of teamwork in this study setting. Resistance to change and a lack of time might also hamper implementation of the tool. Conclusion: The tool can assist with managing the backlog for prostheses and to guide prosthetic prescription in the Eastern Cape province. Clinical implications: A prosthesis can help to salvage functional mobility after lower limb amputation. However, not all people who had above knee amputation manage to walk with a prosthesis. The tool reported on in this article provides information that can guide prosthetic prescription and rehabilitation goals.

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