The pathway to your recovery can vary depending on where you live and your general health.
The length of your recovery time may depend on the cause of your amputation together with other physical factors, your medical condition and your general health.
The news that you are ready to begin the rehabilitation phase of your recovery is a positive sign. Whichever pathway your journey may take, it means that you are well enough to move on and progress with the next phase of your recovery.
Everybody’s recovery journey is different and can follow a different treatment pathway. When we talk about treatment pathways we mean: the people involved in your care, the people that will help you along the way, how you will be cared for, what supports you will receive, and where your discharge destination will be.
There may be a number of different healthcare team members involved in your care. Your healthcare team will work with you to help you to regain your independence and increase your confidence and help you to develop, and achieve your goals.
Oversees and coordinates your medical care. Their role is to ensure that your health and medical needs are being met. Your doctor, together with your team will assess if you are fit and able to use a mechanical/assistive device, such as a prosthesis.
Helps you to adjust to day to day activities like: personal care, domestic tasks such as: meal preparation, accessing your place of residence, education or work readiness.
If you are an upper limb amputee the Occupational Therapist will assist you with the functional training of your prosthesis.
Will design an exercise program tailored to your needs. They will assist you to regain your balance, flexibility, strength and stamina. They will help you to use mobility aids such as: wheelchairs, walking frames, crutches and other assistive devices suitable for you. If you are a lower limb amputee they will assist you to use a prosthesis.
Will look after the design, manufacture, supply and fit of the prosthesis. Together, you will discuss and decide on the prosthetic components to suit your needs and lifestyle. They will also teach you how to ‘donn and doff’ (put on and take off) your prosthesis, and start your prosthetic training.
Provides confidential counselling assistance for you and your family. They can assist you with emotional support. Social workers will provide assistance with financial matters (e.g. Centrelink), transport, disabled parking permits, multi-purpose taxi cards and your accommodation requirements.
Assists with your medications, personal hygiene, bathing and dressing and any wound care and diabetic management that is required. They will liaise with your healthcare team about your specific needs and/or any referrals you may require.
The most important member of your recovery team is YOU. From the onset, you will be encouraged to play an active role in your recovery and care.
Depending on the cause of your amputation, other people involved in your care may include:
Diabetic educator - provides diabetes self-management education for people with diabetes
Dietitian: assists with an individual’s nutrition based upon their medical condition and needs.
Exercise physiologist: specialises in exercise and movement for the prevention and management of chronic diseases and injuries.
Pastoral Care worker: provides emotional and spiritual support for all cultures and traditions.
Podiatrist: treat a variety of foot and ankle ailments, including calluses, ingrown toenails, heel spurs, and arch problems.
Psychologist: (clinical or neuropsychologist) – supports individuals and fosters positive mental health outcomes and personal growth
Sexual health counsellor: assists you to deal with and manage problems associated with body image and sexuality
People who undergo amputation can experience a myriad of emotions. Some common reactions can include sadness, anger, grief, anxiety and depression.
The different emotions people experience may not only be due to the physical loss of a limb; but also the effects that the amputation can have on family life, career, lifestyle and socialisation.
Treatment approaches for each of these emotions will most likely be varied. Appropriate counselling and therapy can help with emotional adjustments.
Some amputees may also experience a distortion of body image which can affect sexual drive or intimacy. The appearance of the residual limb may make the individual feel self-conscious about his or her body image. Individuals feeling this way should seek advice from a sexual health counsellor.
Speak to your GP or Rehabilitation Consultant or contact the relevant services to meet your needs.
In addition, speaking to another amputee who has lived with the physical and emotional challenges of limb loss can sometimes be useful.
For more information visit our Peer Support section.