What is important to adults after lower limb reconstruction surgery: a conceptual framework

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Patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) are used to understand the impact of lower limb reconstruction on patient’s Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQL). Existing measures have not involved this group of patients and their experiences during development. This study aimed to develop a conceptual framework to reflect what is important to patients requiring, undergoing or after undergoing reconstructive surgery.

Our population of interest was people requiring, undergoing or after undergoing reconstructive surgery due to trauma, malunion, nonunion, infection or congenital issues treated by internal or external fixation. We undertook semi-structured interviews with patients and orthopaedic healthcare professionals (surgeons, methodologists and patient contributors) in England.

Thirty-two patients and 22 orthopaedic healthcare professionals (surgeons, methodologists and patient contributors) were interviewed between November 2020 and June 2021. Eight domains from a previously developed preliminary conceptual framework were used as a framework around which to code the interviews using thematic analysis. Six domains important to patients (from the perspective of patients and orthopaedic healthcare professionals) were included in the final conceptual framework: pain, perception-of-self, work and finances, daily lifestyle and functioning, emotional well-being, and support. These findings, plus meetings with our advisory panel led to the refinement of the conceptual framework.

The first five domains relate to important outcomes for patients; they are all inter-related and their importance to patients changed throughout recovery. The final domain—support (from work, the hospital, physiotherapists and family/friends)—was vital to patients and lessened the negative impact of the other domains on their HRQL. These new data strengthen our original findings and our understanding of the domains we identified in the QES. The next step in this research is to ascertain whether current PROMs used with this group of patients adequately capture these areas of importance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalQuality of life research
Early online date7 Jan 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jan 2023

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