Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop by Hanger Clinic on Upper Extremity Limb Loss. The workshop discussed the advances in prosthetics that are helping people with upper-body limb loss get back to work and their lives.

I was asked to participate in the event to represent the role case managers play when a patient has an amputation. I shared that case managers are called to work with patients after a catastrophic event or when they have complex and costly chronic medical or behavioral health conditions. The benefit of having a case manager on the case is to ensure that the patient is getting the care they need at the right time, in the least restrictive setting, for the most cost-effective price. Case Managers are also in place to support the person and their family, as sustaining an amputation is a life-changing event. Case managers practice proactively to help patients prevent setbacks and to find the resources they need.

Here are some stats that I learned at the conference that are important for Case managers as they work with patients with limb loss.

  • Receiving a prosthesis may help ease some of the challenges patients face. Recent research shows that prosthetic rehabilitation positively impacts quality of life, mobility, and satisfaction and can lead to a reduction in overall healthcare costs (up to nearly $100,000 if a prosthesis is received 0-3 months post-amputation)
  • Patients with Upper Limb amputation, when fitted with a prosthesis within 30 days, had a 100% return to work rate!
  • Evidence also shows that the most effective way for people to adjust to life with limb loss is through education and emotional support from peers who have successfully moved forward after amputation. Peer visitors are uniquely qualified to help amputees cope because they have first-hand experience overcoming negative emotions during their own recovery and rehabilitation process. 92% of patients indicated that a peer visit substantially improved their outlook.

There are a variety of custom prosthetic solutions available for those with amputation. The key is getting the patient connected to a reputable prosthetic company that has an interprofessional team dedicated to working with them to achieve their goals and improve their outcomes.

What I have learned working with patients who suffer catastrophic/complex conditions is that when they receive the care they need at the right time and get the resources they need, they are resilient. As a case manager, helping to connect with the right people allows good things to happen in tragic situations.


Limb Loss and Limb Difference: Facts, Statistics, & Resources



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