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Thursday, 5 September 2019

Practical Coping Strategies to Help Amputees and Their Families


Losing a limb can be devastating. It can disrupt a person’s life, as well as causing emotional trauma for them and their families. It’s possible to regain a sense of normalcy in these situations, but one thing is the same for almost all amputees – they will have to learn new skills. These skills include coping techniques, but usually, also include life skills and modifications. This means that an amputee’s family often also has to make changes. Fortunately, you can find strategies to help you through the process.

1. Talk to a therapist


Amputees often go through a grieving process much like they would with a death. This can be difficult for other people to understand, but it’s important to give them time. During this time, it’s easy to slip into depression. When this happens, it can become harder to cope with the situation. If you see that they are showing symptoms like loss of appetite, withdrawal, sleeplessness, and others, you should immediately seek professional help.

2. Set goals


Setting goals is one of the biggest steps toward recovery for any condition. It’s a practice that gives us hope for the future and a clearly defined path. To use them effectively in this type of situation, they need to be practical, meaningful, and realistic. Some should also include the amputee’s family members who are around the most. The doctors and mental health professionals involved can help them set some goals, but some should be meaningful to the patient. For example, they might set a goal to be able to drive again in six months or to be able to walk the dogs in three.

3. Use prosthetic accessories


Pain and discomfort are common for amputees. They can feel pain from the recovery process, but they can also experience discomfort from adjusting to new prosthetics. Family members need to understand this and give them time to adjust. You can also buy different products that help ease this discomfort, such as prosthetic socks. Some have gel inserts or lining that provide a cushion between the leg and the device.


4. Get them involved

As soon as an amputee feels able to participate in familiar activities again, it’s crucial that they’re allowed to do so. Keeping busy is helpful in taking their minds off their circumstances, and it can also speed up recovery. Having a daily routine can help ease them back into their regular lives very quickly as well. It’s also effective for improving their mental health.

5. Beware of addiction


Addiction to prescription medication is a bigger problem than a lot of people realize. In fact, even the short-term use of opioids (found in drugs such as hydrocodone and morphine) can lead to addiction. To prevent this, people should take certain precautions. First, if the amputee has ever had a problem with addictive substances, their doctors need to know. While they will still need some of these drugs, their doctors can recommend other methods for controlling pain.

6. Use alternative medicine


Amputees often find alternative medicine to be effective. Some patients use these methods for pain management instead of prescription medication, but most use both. In combining alternative treatments with traditional medicine, many amputees are able to avoid addiction. In addition, they usually find that they feel much better emotionally and physically. Of course, this course of treatment is something the amputees have to experiment with on their own. In the beginning, it’s never a good idea to stray too far off course from your doctor’s recommendations. But most alternative medicine practices are extremely safe, making them ideal for added therapy.

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