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AMPUTATIONS IN NURSING HOMES

An amputation is generally performed on a patient whose arm or leg tissue has died so extensively that amputating the extremity is the only way to save the patient’s life. Tissue damage can be caused by injury, infection, or illnesses like diabetes.

There are many different types of amputations. Generally, the surgical team will save as much healthy tissue as possible when they perform an amputation. For example, a surgeon might amputate only a toe or part of the foot instead of the entire foot.

An amputation is a major procedure with significant physical, emotional, and social effects. The amputation should be approached as a process; the actual surgery is only part of that process. Throughout that process, pain control, good wound treatment, effective rehabilitation, and emotional support should be crucial.

It is critical that the rehabilitation process be tailored to the individual nursing home resident. The process should focus on the resident’s goals – whatever those may be. Some residents may strive to regain their independence; others may simply wish for pain control or the ability to walk with assistance.

During the rehabilitation process, it is critical that the resident receive strong support and encouragement, as the process is difficult and painful, both physically and emotionally. Patients with strong support tend to do better in their recoveries.

If you need support or have any questions, please contact us for immediate assistance.

References

“Amputation.” 2016. Health Library: Johns Hopkins Medicine. The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System. Available at http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test_procedures/cardiovascular/amputation_procedure_92,P08292/

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