Ethnographies of limb loss and rehabilitation

Murray, Craig (2022) Ethnographies of limb loss and rehabilitation. In: Rehabilitation in Practice. Springer Nature, pp. 131-144. ISBN 9789811683169

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Amputation of a limb and beginning to use a prosthetic (artificial) limb presents major physical, psychological and social challenges. Rehabilitation following limb loss involves a multidisciplinary team of health professionals and the challenges involved encompass regaining functional abilities and reintegration to work, family and social contexts and relationships. Qualitative research has played an important role in developing an appreciation of these processes and in recommending how health professionals can improve service provision. Although a range of qualitative approaches have been used in relation to limb loss and prosthesis use, ethnography has a unique methodological contribution to make in furthering an understanding of such issues and informing service provision. While ethnography may take different forms, it usually involves collecting data in natural settings (or, the field) using a combination of data collection strategies, such as observation and interviews, and embedding and interpreting results in the local and wider socio-political and cultural systems in which participants live and the research takes place. In this chapter, I review exemplar ethnographic studies of limb loss to highlight the value that such work offers for understanding rehabilitation, and how it can be improved, following amputation. This includes a study of limb loss following war, a military rehabilitation programme for wounded soldiers, and a civilian rehabilitation ward. The meanings and experience of limb loss and artificial limb use in particular social, cultural and rehabilitative contexts are therefore highlighted, as is the importance of gender, ethnicity, religion, economics and societal beliefs.

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04 Nov 2021 17:25
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19 Sep 2023 03:36