Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand how patients reach the decision to consent to the amputation of a lower limb
Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to support the patient's in the decision-making process.
Methods: The research was conducted in the qualitative method. Thirty lower-limb amputees (aged 32-88) took part in the study. In-depth interviews were held with the participants. The data were processed by means of content analysis.
Results: The main thematic categories identified were, in the chronological order of their appearance: 'The trail of torment leading to the decision to amputate', 'The turning point — taking the decision' "I just couldn't take any more pain" "We opt for life, we don't want to die". The more protracted and pain-filled the 'the trail of torment' the more mentally prepared patients were to give consent to amputation. Asked to look back on their choice, almost all interviewees had no regrets and even found virtues in it.
Conclusion: The patients' decisions represented a mix of their grasp of the medical information supplied them by their doctors, their own personal values —opting for life prevailing over the desire for a whole body, and consideration for their family. The patients saw the decision-making process about amputation as a process of achieving consensus between themselves, their doctors and their family.
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