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A focus group study of health professionals? views on phantom sensation, phantom pain and the need for patient information

By C M Mortimer, R J M MacDonald, D J Martin, Ian R McMillan, J Ravey and W M Steedman


Focus groups with 32 health professionals from pre- and post-amputation care in central Scotland were used to explore perceptions of phantom sensation and pain, and current practice and potential improvements to patient information. Findings were compared to our parallel study of patients’ experiences of phantom phenomena and information needs. Professionals’ perceptions of phantom phenomena did not always match patient experiences: few professionals were fully aware of the nature, or the problems associated with phantom pain. There was uncertainty about who provided information and reported information was inconsistent and only weakly grounded in theory and mechanism-based management. Whilst there was awareness of the benefits of information, content, mode of delivery and co-ordination were all identified as areas for improvement. Our findings suggest that the information given to patients on phantom phenomena is inconsistent and insufficient. Possible solutions are the development of minimum standards of information and specifically targeted interprofessional education

Publisher: Elsevier
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:eresearch.qmu.ac.uk:865
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