The Amputee Coalition published the results of its community survey assessing the physical and mental health priorities of people with limb loss and/or limb difference (PwLL/LD). The findings will assist the Amputee Coalition with raising awareness and informing priorities to improve the quality of care that PwLL/LD receive.
In addition to individual health priorities, the survey identified access gaps in physical and mental health services and the need for social and community support resources. The responses demonstrated that PwLL/LD experience disability-specific needs and challenges such as rehabilitation services, pain treatment, and issues regarding understanding their rights, including understanding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“The Amputee Coalition is dedicated to ongoing research that prioritizes the needs of people living with limb loss and limb difference. This community experiences complex health needs, including the availability and quality of assistive technologies, the intersection of physical and mental healthcare, and the barriers to obtaining adequate accommodations and health benefits for their disability,” said John Register, interim president and CEO for the Amputee Coalition. “We deeply thank the more than 1,700 individuals who participated in the survey and for their invaluable contributions to building a broader understanding of the community’s lived experience.”
Conducted in 2021-2022, the survey reveals three key findings and opportunities to address the unmet needs of PwLL/LD: a need for assistive technologies, better understanding of accommodations and benefits for individuals with disabilities, and improved integrated physical and mental healthcare.
Survey respondents identified their three most important physical health priorities as strength and balance, improved assistive device performance or comfort, and access to a prosthesis. This finding is aligned with prior research that suggests two-thirds of Americans living with LL/LD never receive a prosthesis. Survey respondents also highlighted the need for assistance with understanding how to navigate health insurance and how to take advantage of accommodations afforded to PwLL/LD by the ADA. The survey responses demonstrated that physical and mental health priorities for PwLL/LD are closely related. People with disabilities, including PwLL/LD, often do not have access to integrated physical and mental healthcare or to mental health providers who adequately understand their patient’s disability.
The survey’s key takeaways include:
- The need for pain management
- The need for age-appropriate medical solutions for PwLL/LD
- The need for integrated physical and mental healthcare
- The need for increased resources to help the community in understanding ADA and navigating health insurance
To read the report or watch a webinar presentation, visit the Amputee Coalition website.