A study of the amputee experience of viewing self in the mirror

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Purpose: To describe the trajectory of viewing self in a mirror after an amputation and participants' perceptions of what health care professionals should know about mirrors. Design: Hermeneutic phenomenology. Methods: Focus groups were conducted to collect the research data. Findings: The mirror experience had three key moments: decision, seeing, and consent. The trajectory of viewing self in a mirror had four key themes: mirror shock, mirror anguish, recognizing self, and acceptance: a new normal. Participants' recommendations for introducing the mirror after an amputation and using a mirror to avoid skin breakdown and infection, and correct gait and balance are described. Conclusions: This study provides a unique viewpoint into the world of those who have suffered amputation of a limb. Clinical Relevance: Rehabilitation nurses and other health care professionals are encouraged through these participants to consider the effect and value of mirrors when caring for those who have had an amputation.