A prosthesis is more than a piece of medical equipment. It represents a life change that can vastly improve an individual's quality of life and well-being. Some patients find that a prosthesis can inspire new functional goals. Whether a person is facing an amputation or has already had one, Cleveland Clinic Rehabilitation and Sports Therapist can help improve mobility and function. Therapy staff works together in conjunction with the medical team including: the physician, prosthetist and other therapy providers.
Who is amputee rehabilitation for?
Amputee rehabilitation is appropriate for individuals who have acquired or congenital upper or lower extremity amputations. Congenital amputations are present at birth when an infant is born without part or all of a limb. Acquired amputations are usually from disease, injury, or surgery. Some acquired causes that can lead to an amputation include:
- Peripheral Vascular Disease or PVD (blood vessel disease)
- Arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries)
- Cancer/Tumors in Bone and Muscles
What does amputee rehabilitation involve?
The rehabilitation program begins with a comprehensive evaluation and development of an individualized care plan. The plan focuses on developing the skills an amputee needs to re-learn necessary skills and attain his/her highest functional level possible. Some common treatment areas include:
- Gait training and mobility
- Improving activity tolerance
- Pain management/Sensation training
- Self-care activities
- Home management skills
- Independence with community mobility
- Body image and coping skills
- Education, training, and utilization of adaptive equipment and assistive devices
Rehabilitation may take place in a variety of settings including: acute care, hospital-based skilled nursing facility, acute rehabilitation facility, home care and outpatient rehabilitation.
How long will amputee rehabilitation take?
The length of rehabilitation varies based on each individual needs and progress. There are various phases of rehabilitation that are dependent on the time since the amputation and degree of healing. Factors that influence the length of time in rehabilitation include:
- Level and type of amputation (upper or lower extremity, unilateral or bilateral)
- Cause of amputation
- Type and degree of any resulting impairments
- Wound healing and pain management
- Progress towards functional goals
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