Life Care Planning for the Amputee
The loss of a body part is an emotionally traumatic experience. Yet most persons who sustain an amputation can look forward to a fulfilling life of meaningful function using contemporary prosthetic designs. Amputation surgery should proceed as a reconstructive surgery that will provide a residual limb with best function, whether or not prosthesis is likely to be prescribed. To understand the rehabilitative process for a person with an amputation, it is best to consider the following phases of amputation rehabilitation. The phases for amputation rehabilitation staging and the setting in which they are usually accomplished in today's health systems are: preoperative, surgical, acute postsurgical, preprosthetic, prosthetic prescription and fabrication, prosthetic training, community reentry, vocational/avocational, and follow-up. Amputation of the leg is more common than amputation of the arm and occurs in a 3:1 ratio. The leg amputee is usually a person in the sixth or seventh decade of life who sustains the amputation because of occlusive arterial vascular disease.