Home Health & Hospice

Insider's scoop | Amputation and rehabilitation

Homecare Insider, January 25, 2016

This week’s Inside scoop/story is excerpted from “Amputation: Understanding Barriers and Strategies for Recovery,” from 40 Essential In-Services for Home Health, reviewed by Elizabeth I. Gonzalez, RN, BSN. This valuable resource provides 40 in-services that offer training on more essential homecare topics than any other product on the market. Click here for more information.

The term “rehabilitation” is most often used when trained professional therapists are involved in evalu-ating the patient and designing a plan of care. The term restorative may be used when the evaluation and care plan are performed by the nursing staff.

It is estimated that about one-third of disabled adults over the age of 65 would benefit from physical rehabilitation. These people can be divided into two groups. The first group is composed of those who have been disabled throughout their lives and who need continuous rehabilitation. The second group is made up of those people who have become disabled as the result of an accident or illness.

Patients might suffer from depression associated with a belief that their independence won’t improve. When working on rehabilitation, divide tasks into simple steps for the patient. Minimize distractions. Try not to rush patients, and, if possible given their condition, do not hover over them while they perform the task. Provide feedback and praise to encourage the patient to continue the effort. It also helps to praise patients’ efforts to their families. Keep in mind that in the process of rehabilitation, frequent ups and downs are to be expected. Be prepared to encourage patients and yourself through the difficult times and join with them in their happiness as they improve. Be sure to celebrate improvement.

Monitor patients’ progress and report and document their accomplishments. New goals may need to be established once a task has been mastered or if a task proves too difficult. Rehabilitation measures are necessary to produce positive results when caring for amputee patients. They can increase the patient’s independence, prevent complications, or at the very least help slow deterioration.