Learning to cope with amputation Learning to cope with amputation

Learning to cope with amputation

Current living 19 March, 2018 Maria Clara Restrepo E.

The rehabilitation process after an amputation begins with medical treatment ranging from the removal of sutures and staples to treating wounds and managing pain.

A PhD in philosophy, specialist in psychology and medicine, and a below-knee amputee himself, Dr. Saul Morris is an expert on the amputation process. As he explains on the website of the U.S.-based Amputee Coalition, at some point within the first three months of an amputation, the surgeon is likely to refer the patient’s care to a doctor that specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation or physical therapy. The recovery process involves challenges that people need to be aware of, however:

The loss of an extremity has a significant emotional impact both on patients and families. Emotional recovery is a personal experience that has no specific time period. Some people feel they reach a level of acceptance quickly after an injury or after surgery, and over time, deal with feelings of loss when they least expect it. During the first three months of recovery, patients should have the support of a psychologist or support group.

Most amputees chose to have a prosthesis after their staples or sutures have been removed. Whether they have a prosthesis or not, it is important for the person to understand the benefits of working together with a specialist for the rest of their lives.

A year after the amputation, the patient should know how to adapt to their life and use their prosthesis. The person will have discovered new ways of doing both simple and complicated tasks. With all patients, medical and family support plays a big role.

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