Veterans needed for research into limb loss

Veterans are needed to participate in a study about limb loss. This is being undertaken by Teri Taylor from Sunderland University. The study is named “The Meaning of Limb”: Understanding the meaning of a prosthetic limb within the Lived Experience of Veteran, Above-Knee amputees. 

Currently, decisions about your prosthesis, tend to look at how one leg functions better or worse than another.

This study seeks to understand what the limb means to you, and within your life. And Teri hopes to be able to understand the factors that influence how you see your prosthesis and how would ideally like to choose a prosthesis that fits your needs.

As a veteran with an amputation above the knee, this study would like to use your story of who you are, what your life is all about, what your ambitions are, what your prosthetic means to you within that life, and your future plans.

At the end of the project, it’s hoped that the results will provide some understanding and “stories” that illustrate, to clinicians, the person behind the prosthesis in order to improve person-centered care in practice.

Who can take part in the study?

You can take part in this study if you are a veteran, aged between 18 and 55, with an above knee amputation, who uses a prosthetic leg.

You should be mobile independently (with or without a walking aid), and not involved in active, in-patient medical care.

If you are interested in taking part, and are unsure if you meet these criteria, please contact me at the details below to discuss this.

This study may include the discussion of sensitive materials. If you are not supported by a recognised mental health service and have mental health issues you are advised not to apply to take part in the study.

What happens if I change my mind?

Participation is entirely voluntary. If you change your mind about taking part in the study, you can withdraw at any point up until two weeks after each interview without giving a reason and without penalty.

If you choose to withdraw, you should contact Teri via email, with your unique identifying number and you will be withdraw en from the study.

How do I participate?

You will complete two interviews. During these you will  talk about yourself, your experiences, your life, your ambitions and your prosthetic leg.

Each of these interviews can be conducted by telephone, over the internet (e.g., Zoom or Teams), or face-to-face.

The time and location will be convenient to you and will be negotiated before you participate.

Each interview can be flexible in duration but is expected to be up to an hour (depending on what you would like to talk about), but the format, any breaks or the way in which it is completed, can be totally flexible to your needs.

Other forms of communication, such as email or Blog/Vlog will also be considered if these are preferable.

Interviews will be recorded with your permission for the purpose of analysis.  The nature of the recording will depend upon the access method for the interviews, but audio data only, will be retained for study.

If Teams is in use, a recording will be made of the interview period, to be transcribed for audio content.  If the interviews are face-to-face, a Dictaphone will be used to record the discussions.

You will be asked for permission for this to take place, prior to each interview.

First interview

The first interview is designed to help the researcher understand you a little better.  You will be encouraged to talk about yourself as a person, your background, and your life.

This may involve exploring your life before and after amputation, but this is your choice and can be discussed with the interviewer.

The purpose of this interview is to understand you as a person, and to get a sense of what is important within your life and what your future ambitions and drives are all about.  This will help the researcher to understand the person behind the prosthesis.

After the interview, the interviewer will look at what has been said, and will analyse the information to understand key points in your life and key factors that are important to you.

You will be contacted with this analysis to indicate whether you think it is accurate or whether it needs amending (or whether anything has been misunderstood or missed).

Second interview

The format will be the same as the first, but it will focus upon your prosthetics.

You may be asked to talk about previous and current prosthetics, what you might like to use in the future, what your use is like and positives and negatives of limb wear.

The purpose of this interview is to explore your experiences of limb wear, understand how prosthetics influence your life and your roles in life, and what you think and feel about the limb.

As with the first interview, the data collected will be analysed by the research, following the interview, and you will be contacted with the analysis to check for errors or omissions.

This study is very much about helping you to help others understand what it’s like to live with a prosthetic leg and its meaning within your life, so the topics covered are very open to your needs and wants.

This is not a question-and-answer type of approach, as much as an opportunity for you to tell the researcher your stories and your experiences.

At the end of the study, the researcher will be finally analysing the information that you have provided and producing a document that presents these results to prescribing practitioners.  The results are hoped to use parts of your stories, to illustrate the meaning of a prosthetic limb to an individual both in terms of practical performance but also you as a person.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?

There is a risk that the interviews may explore some emotional subject areas.  This is entirely your choice, but should you wish to discuss sensitive areas, there is a risk of emotional upset.  If this is the case and you wish to seek support, this can be provided via your GP or via the organisations below.  If you are a member of BLESMA, support can also be provided via your Support Officer.

Mind: Provide support and direction to relevant services, for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis:

Telephone – 0300 123 3393

Email Mind

Samaritans – Provide urgent support for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis.

Telephone – 116123

Email Samaritans

What are the possible benefits of taking part?

The benefits of taking part are in helping to illustrate your experiences of wearing a limb, so that prescribing practitioners are more able to consider the person behind a leg, and the impact of a leg on a life.   

This study aims to change prescriptive practice and to encourage an approach that acknowledges the wearer as the expert in what they need from a leg and what will work for them, within their lives and for their ambitions.

 What if something goes wrong?

If you change your mind about participation, please contact Teri Taylor by email to cancel your participation. If you feel unhappy about the conduct of the study, please contact Teri immediately, her Supervisor or the Chairperson of the University of Sunderland Research Ethics Group:

Contact details:

Email Doctor John Fulton: Chair of the University of Sunderland Research Ethics Group, University of Sunderland.

Email Dr. Catherine Hayes: Professor of Professional Practice (Learning & Teaching) and Supervisor for this project.

Email Teri Taylor: Senior Lecturer – Physiotherapy and Project Researcher.

Will my taking part in this study be kept confidential?

At the start of the study, you will be allocated a participant number.  No one other than the researcher will have access to your personal details and all information will be kept confidential and held on the University server and accessed via a password protected laptop.

Researchers are obliged to keep information confidential except in the following circumstances:

– Where a court of law or police investigation is ongoing and requires release of information.

– Where you disclose something that is considered to threaten public safety.

Should either of these be the case, this will be discussed with you.

It may not be totally possible to keep your identity anonymous, due to the nature of the information that might be discussed during the interviews.

However, if there are any details within the final interview recordings that could identify you as the participant, the researcher will discuss this with you on completion of the interview process and a joint decision will be made as to how to proceed.

What will happen to the results of the research study?

If suitable, the results may also be presented at academic conferences and/or written up for publication in peer reviewed academic journals.  The results from this project will also be used as part of the researcher’s Doctoral Thesis.

Who is organising and funding the research?

This research is organized as part of the University of Sunderland Professional Doctoral award.  There is no funding provided for this study.

Who has reviewed the study?

The University of Sunderland Research Ethics Group has reviewed and approved the study.

Please respond to the Study by 31st August, 2024