Amputee Rehabilitation: A Scottish Survey
The publication in spring 1974 of the sad and depressing Australian Survey of Vascular Amputees (Little et al. 1974) disturbed all those involved in the rehabilitation of amputees. Major statistical discrepancies, however, between their findings and those produced for the Scottish Home and Health Department raised doubts as to whether the gloomy Australian picture was mirrored in a more settled European environment. Therefore a survey has been carried out, of a more detailed and comprehensive nature than the above studies, amongst the intake into the Dundee Limb Fitting Centre (DLFC) during the year 1977.
There are 55 amputees in the survey and their progress through all the stages of recovery has been closely monitored. Most are now at home and have been interviewed and assessed in what might be called a stabilised state, about 4–6 months after release from DLFC.
For a variety of reasons, most of which involve different national characteristics and environment, there is little evidence of the serious decline in social-activities which was a major feature of the Australian survey nor of the disappointment and bitterness with which amputation was viewed. Yet the Scottish survey has revealed disquieting evidence in its own situation. Prominent is the startling discrepancy in achievement and retention of mobility between elderly male and female amputees. In addition in an era and area of high urban unemployment, the notorious British ‘poverty trap’ is having a damaging effect on the morale of ‘blue collar’ amputees. While opportunities are better in a rural environment, the spectre of the ‘tied cottage’ haunts the agricultural worker.
In spite of individual problems, however, the overall picture is bright. Above all the survey underlines the crucial contribution of prosthetic aided mobility to rehabilitation, especially of male amputees.
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- Little et al. (1974). A study in disappointment. Australian Survey of Vascular Amputees.Google Scholar