Answered Questions for April 2022: Assistive Technology and Rehabilitation for the Full Participation of People with Limb Loss

Answered Questions is a monthly resource for the Spanish language Disability Community that fills an information need. This month’s question is: Due to a recent injury, my arm had to be amputated. I want to be able to participate in my community, including in recreational activities and employment. How can assistive technology and rehabilitation help me to be engaged in my community? This edition of Answered Questions includes items that discuss the work of the TEAMM RERC; the influence of powered prostheses on user perspectives, metabolics, and activities; vibratory haptic feedback; prosthetic solutions for partial hand amputation; a rehabilitation protocol for amputees; the work, education, and social situation of amputees in Mexico; and more. More about Answered Questions.

NIDILRR-Funded Projects:

The Technologies to Evaluate and Advance Mobility and Manipulation (TEAMM) Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (in English) researches and develops technologies to evaluate and advance mobility and manipulation for people with movement disabilities, including amputees. The Center develops and evaluates a low-cost prosthetic arm system targeted for people with amputation in both low-income countries and the US and evaluates a novel prosthetic leg with powered and passive modes in older users.

From the NARIC Collection:

The article, The influence of powered prostheses on user perspectives, metabolics, and activity; A randomized crossover trial (in English), discusses a study that compared the use of unpowered and powered prostheses in people with transtibial amputation to quantify differences in metabolic cost, step count, and speed of everyday walking, as well as user perceptions of their mobility and quality of life when wearing each prosthesis. The findings of this study suggest that there were no universal benefits of the powered prosthesis on function in the lab or home environment. However, the effects were participant-specific, with some reporting preference for power and improved mobility, and some increasing their activity and decreasing their metabolic effort.

Research In Focus:

According to the Amputee Coalition of America, more than 735,000 Americans have had an upper limb amputation, and up to half of these individuals use a prosthetic hand. The article, What’s the Buzz: Using Vibratory Haptic Feedback to Improve Grip Strength in Hand Prostheses, discusses a NIDILRR-funded study conducted by researchers studying Haptic Feedback Improvements for Prostheses (in English) that tested a new portable vibratory haptic feedback system designed for use at home. The researchers found that the system improved the participants accuracy in adjusting their grip force. The authors noted that the portable vibratory haptic system may have great potential in helping people with disabilities perform everyday activities. This article is also available in English.

Technology:

The case report, Prosthetic solutions for partial hand amputation: Apropos of a case, discusses prosthetic solutions for a partial amputation of the hand. The report discusses the case of a patient with disarticulation of the fingers of the dominant hand. The report demonstrates to rehabilitation professionals how prosthetic fitting can be carried out, with the different phases of the intervention and some of the prosthetic solutions used.

Rehabilitation:

In Cuba, the admission of amputees to rehabilitation centers is increasingly frequent due to the high prevalence of diabetes, obstructive arterial disease, and accidents. The rehabilitation of people with lower limb amputation is a process which includes physical, psychological, and occupational therapies and not just the simple restitution of the amputated limb. The article, Protocol of action in rehabilitation of patients with lower limb amputations, discusses the establishment of a treatment regimen based on available information on the rehabilitation of people with lower limb amputation, such as an evidence-based action protocol.

Education, Employment, and Community Participation:

The article, The Employment, Educational, and Social Situation of Patients with Amputations from 7 to 70 Years of Age Treated at the National Institute of Rehabilitation from 2000 to 2008, discusses a study on the process known as impact rehabilitation and the lack of it in the context of employment, education, and social inclusion of people with amputation. The study found that 59% of the participants had a basic education and that the participants with a metabolic cause for their amputation had the highest percentage of not returning to work. The researchers noted that amputations impact the return to work, school, and the community and they recommend that a greater participation by the healthcare team be required to provide continuity in the treatment of amputees that will assist them in returning to work, school, and society.

Resources:

  • The Amputee Coalition (in English) empowers people affected by limb loss to achieve their full potential through education, support, and advocacy, and promotes limb loss prevention. The Coalition’s National Limb Loss Resource Center (in English) provides information and referral services to people affected by limb loss, their families, and service providers, including information and materials in Spanish. The Coalition also hosts events to raise awareness about limb loss. Finally, the Amputee Coalition provides a factsheet in Spanish (PDF) that discusses international resources for amputees throughout the world.

Guides for Service Professionals:

  • The Guide on the Care of Amputees (PDF), from the Argentinian Ministry of Health and INAREPS,  provides information for healthcare professionals on amputation, healthcare, and other related topics. The guide provides a glossary of definitions, information on the levels of amputation, and information on the stages of treatment, including before and after surgery. The guide also discusses possible complications related to surgery, who should be in the patient’s rehabilitation team and their treatment objectives, and the value of treatment assessments.

Courses/Podcasts:

Further Research:

REHABDATA:

PubMed:

International:

About Answered Questions

Each month, we look through the searches on our blog and through the information requests made by our patrons who speak Spanish and pick a topic that fills the largest need. Each resource mentioned above is associated with this month’s information need. We search the various Spanish language news sources and feeds throughout the month to bring you these articles. With the exception of the NIDILRR Projects, From the NARIC Collection, and Further Investigation, all the linked articles and resources are in Spanish – any that are in English will be clearly marked.

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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