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Perceived shared decision-making among patients undergoing lower-limb amputation and their care teams: A qualitative study.

Leonard C, Sayre G, Williams S, Henderson A, Norvell D, Turner AP, Czerniecki J. Perceived shared decision-making among patients undergoing lower-limb amputation and their care teams: A qualitative study. Prosthetics and Orthotics International. 2023 Aug 1; 47(4):379-386.

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BACKGROUND: Shared decision-making (SDM) is increasingly advocated in the care of vascular surgery patients. The goal of this investigation was to gain a greater understanding of the patient and provider experience of SDM during clinical decision-making around the need for lower-extremity amputation and amputation level related to chronic limb-threatening ischemia (CLTI) in the Veterans Health Administration. METHODS: Semistructured interviews in male Veterans with CLTI, vascular surgeons, physical medicine and rehabilitation physicians, and podiatric surgeons. Interviews were analyzed using team-based content analysis to identify themes related to amputation-level decisions. RESULTS: We interviewed 22 patients and 21 surgeons and physicians and identified 4 themes related to SDM: (1) providers recognize the importance of incorporating patient preferences into amputation-level decisions and strive to do so; (2) patients do not perceive that they are included as equal partners in decisions around amputation or amputation level; (3) providers perceive several obstacles to including patients in amputation level decisions; and (4) patients describe facilitators to their involvement in SDM. CONCLUSIONS: Despite the recognized importance SDM in amputation decision-making, patients often perceived that their opinion was not solicited. This may result from provider perception of significant challenges to SDM posed by the clinical context of amputation. Patients identified key features that might enhance SDM including presentation of clear, concise information, and the importance of communicating concern during the discussion. These findings point to gaps in the provision of patient-centric care through SDM discussions at the time of amputation.

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