Through the Amputee Coalition’s Amputee Resilience Program (ARP), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working to improve and enhance the recovery and readjustment of the more than 41,000 veterans living with limb loss across the country. Training for the program began last year and implementation has begun throughout the VA’s Amputation System of Care (ASoC).
“Losing a limb can be emotionally devastating,” said Cindy Poorman, VA rehabilitation planning specialist and the VA lead on this initiative. “New amputees often feel overwhelmed and isolated and wonder what the future holds. This program offers them and their families support, information, and education that can empower them to move forward, regain hope, and live well with limb loss.”
The Amputee Coalition’s program also has been integrated into the U.S. Department of Defense’s support for wounded warriors, and the Amputee Coalition has provided its program to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We feel a deep commitment to our returning soldiers with limb loss and to our many veterans who lose limbs, largely due to diabetes,” said Kendra Calhoun, president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition. “This is a small way of appreciating the service these men and women have given our country.”
In 2010, the VA and the Amputee Coalition began integrating the ARP into the ASoC. The program also includes training for the families of veterans living with limb loss. Today, the VA is able to train and provide certified amputee peer visitors and caregiver peer visitors to veterans who experience limb loss. Additionally, through this program, according to Poorman, the VA will launch a self-management program called Promoting Amputee Life Skills designed to speed readjustment and management of issues such as pain for the new amputee.