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Amputees have expressed the need for more information on the recovery path that follows amputation. Inclusion of education in the amputation rehabilitation process empowers amputees to make decisions about their options and form realistic expectations. Virtual worlds are effective as healthcare support communities because they provide both synchronous and asynchrous communication, voice enabled technology, file sharing and more, enhanced by immersion in a visually stimulating and interactive 3-D environment. The objective of this research was to discover how a virtual world could be used to address amputees’ educational needs. A focus group of three lower limb amputees ages ranging from 39 to 82 was convened. Data were analyzed qualitatively using the thematic analysis procedure. Four themes emerged: Challenges amputees face, Getting out and doing things, Becoming empowered, and What’s next for the virtual world. The challenges voiced set an important context. While we anticipated that amputees would want both education and support in a virtual world environment, we learned that support is not only part of education but that both are empowering. Participation in the virtual world facilitated getting out and about and getting moving.
Amputee, Amputation, Virtual World, Avatar, Prosthesis, Prosthetics, Focus Group, Thematic Analysis
This study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Grant # 1R24HS022021, 2013-2017.
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Recommended APA Citation
Winkler, S. L., Schlesinger, M., Alice, K., & Ludwig, A. (2019). Amputee Perspectives of Virtual Patient Education. The Qualitative Report, 24(6), 1309-1318. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3780
Adult and Continuing Education Commons, Alternative and Complementary Medicine Commons, Quantitative, Qualitative, Comparative, and Historical Methodologies Commons, Rehabilitation and Therapy Commons, Social Statistics Commons