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Rehabilitation After Amputation


Sunday, April 13th, 2014

The average inpatient stay following an amputation is typically about one week. However, the entire rehabilitation and recovery process varies for each patient and can take much longer.

During inpatient rehab, patients and their families have access to a fully staffed team of experts, including doctors, nurses, and physical and occupational therapists. Transitioning from inpatient rehab to life at home can be a challenging task for the patient and their family. The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute has a number of services available to ease in that transition.

The first step after inpatient rehabilitation is beginning outpatient rehabilitation. Outpatient rehab is similar to the care received during your stay; however, it can be done at a number of locations throughout Pittsburgh. The physical therapists at these locations will develop a care plan individualized to the needs of the patient. In addition to weekly appointments, patients are often given at-home exercises to supplement sessions with the physical therapist. Adhering to these plans is essential in the recovery process.

In addition to working with a physical therapist, an occupational therapist can assist in acclimating to daily life. These specially trained therapists also can help patients regain their independence by learning to become safer and more efficient in everyday tasks.

For many, a key to recovery–in addition to physical and occupational therapy – is participation in support groups.Amp Up! is a monthly meeting for amputees that offers support and information outside of the hospital setting. In addition to Amp Up!, the Amputee Coalition of America and National Limb Loss Information Center (NLLIC) can be valuable resources.

The expert team that patients have during their inpatient stay continues to monitor and supervise every step of the recovery process. In addition to overseeing patients’ recoveries, the doctors and support staff can:

  • Help manage post amputation pain
  • Perform gait evaluations
  • Develop protocols to correct abnormal walking patterns with the prosthesis

More information on the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute and amputations can be found online at the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute website or by calling 1-877-AT-REHAB (28-73422).

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The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) provides physician services at theUPMC Rehabilitation Institute and numerous outpatient clinics throughout western Pennsylvania. The Department’s mission is to maximize the health, function, and well-being of the people they serve by providing the highest quality rehabilitative medical care, conducting highly relevant, cutting-edge research, and training the next generation of clinicians and researchers. Read More