At Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital, we go to great lengths to show how full life can be after losing a limb. We offer a full range of amputee support and rehabilitation from pre-amputation evaluation to advanced prosthetic training, assuring medical management throughout the entire process. Our experienced team tailors treatment based on each patient’s physical endurance, lifestyle and vocational needs. We’re dedicated to bringing our tireless creativity to every therapy program, so the transition to life after amputation is as seamless as possible.
Amputation treatment and rehabilitation: Our approach
As a comprehensive rehabilitation hospital, we offer a full range of treatment services for amputees. Patients can begin individually tailored programs at any point in our continuum of care:
- Initial inpatient stay after amputation (Phase 1)
- Outpatient amputee clinic for prosthetic fitting
- Inpatient or outpatient prosthetic training (Phase 2)
- Outpatient therapy for advanced prosthetic training
- Maintenance/follow-up in the amputee clinic
Our protocol of three hours of intensive therapy a minimum of five days a week brings a comprehensive team approach to rehabilitation. Treatment for amputees typically includes physical and occupational therapy, nursing, physiatry, psychology and case management. Recreational therapy and diabetic education are included, if appropriate.
Initial inpatient stay after amputation (Phase 1)
After a patient undergoes amputation, our rehab team provides the education and training they need to care for their limb. This includes skin management, transfer techniques, completing activities of daily life, family training, gentle stretching and strengthening, managing swelling and choosing a prosthetist.
The goals for the initial inpatient stay include patients being able to:
- perform basic activities, including functional transfers
- maintain range of motion to prevent contractures at hip and/or knee
- learn proper wheelchair positioning and how to conserve energy
- achieve independence with home exercise, edema control, skin management and desensitization techniques
Inpatient amputee support group
This support group is open to individuals on the inpatient units who have experienced an amputation of a limb. The group is led by a Psychologist with a focus on adjustment issues following amputation. Family members are also invited to attend.
The group meets every Wednesday from 4:00–4:30 pm in the Spruce Gym. For further information call the psychology department at 484.596.5430.
Outpatient amputee clinic for prosthetic fitting
Following inpatient care, patients are discharged to Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital outpatient services or home care for additional therapy. This phase of treatment teaches advanced skills to ensure safety, while achieving the highest level of independence. Therapy may continue during wound healing, depending on the patient’s progress.
Inpatient or outpatient prosthetic training (Phase 2)
Once a patient is ready for a prosthesis, we provide evaluation of wound healing and initial prosthetic fitting, as well as a follow-up for prosthetic maintenance. Our team works together to determine the type of prosthesis that will help the patient meet his or her goals. Once a prosthesis is fabricated, the patient can return to the clinic to assess the fit and determine whether inpatient or outpatient prosthetic training is most appropriate.
Initial prosthetic training takes several weeks as patients work toward gaining increased balance and mastering functional skills. The goals of this phase include:
- walking with the least restrictive assistive device
- establishing a Wearing Schedule
- family training
- performing activities of daily living with the prosthesis
- maintaining the health of the remaining limb
- stair climbing
- skin and sock management
- home safety
- managing and maintaining the prosthesis
Outpatient therapy for advanced prosthetic training
Following inpatient prosthetic training, or in some cases in place of, our team offers advanced prosthetic training on an outpatient basis. This stage of the rehabilitation process builds on the skills learned in Phase 2 and focuses on maximizing a patient’s independence without assistive devices, as appropriate. After mastering the initial prosthesis, patients are fitted with a permanent prosthesis and continue training to fine-tune walking with the permanent prosthetic device.
We offer amputee therapy at convenient outpatient locations throughout the Philadelphia region.
Maintenance/follow-up in the amputee clinic
We offer ongoing follow-up care, regardless of where individuals received initial care. Gait, skin and prosthetic fit are assessed and a fine-tuned prosthetic alignment is completed, if needed. Individuals may follow up as needed if questions or concerns arise or for a replacement prosthesis. Our amputee clinic services are available regardless of where individuals received initial care.
Outpatient amputee support group
This group provides information and emotional support for individuals who have experienced amputation of a limb, as well as their family and friends. Coordinated by our staff therapists, who serve as an informational resource, the group members help each other solve practical problems and manage the challenges posed by amputation.
The amputee support group meets on the third Thursday of the month from 5:00–6:30 pm. For information and to confirm meeting details, contact 484.596.5566 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, we provide driving evaluations and training through our occupational therapist-led driver rehab program.
Most amputees at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital are over the age of 65. Two-thirds of these patients have single or double amputations below the knee. Amputees typically do two rounds of rehabilitation—one immediately after amputation and one when they’re ready for prosthetic training. The inpatient stay after amputation is generally seven to 14 days with 76 percent of patients returning home upon discharge.
On average, patients begin prosthetic training three months after their initial surgery. Upon discharge, 93 percent return home. Most patients finish their rehabilitation being able to complete a majority of daily tasks, like walking or getting in and out of bed, without assistance. 100 percent of amputee patients said they would definitely recommend Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital to other amputees.
Support from family can make a dramatic improvement to a patient’s progress after amputation. For that reason, we incorporate family training into the rehabilitation program for every amputee. Our dedicated team provides training to teach family members how best to assist the patient in order to transition to home. To stay close during the initial inpatient stay, family traveling from afar may take advantage of our on-site family accommodations. Amputees face many unique challenges during rehabilitation and we keep family informed and involved throughout the entire process.