A research team at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, examined how the presence and experience of personal financial difficulty affected perceived health and well-being in individuals with lower-limb loss. The findings showed that the presence or experience of financial difficulty was significantly associated with diminished community reintegration in community-dwelling, non-military adults with lower lower-limb loss, and that it affects both physical and emotional aspects of well-being. The study’s authors suggest that clinicians should be aware how socioeconomic factors may affect social reintegration after an amputation.
Ninety participants (68 men, mean age 58.7 ± 16.7 years) were recruited from local physical therapy and prosthetic and orthotic clinics, rehabilitation hospitals, and a regional amputee patient support group. All participants were community-dwelling, non-military adults with amputation involving at least one major lower-limb joint. Participants were interviewed, and each completed a survey that included basic demographic/medical information, self-reported health and well-being (Short-Form Health Survey, SF-36v2), and a question to determine their financial situation after limb loss. Multiple regression analyses were used to examine the effect of financial difficulty on the eight subscales of SF-36v2 while accounting for age, gender, and amputation level.
The results indicated that experiencing financial difficulty significantly and negatively affected Role-Physical and Role-Emotional subscale scores. Individuals with financial difficulty scored approximately 60 percent lower in these two subscales.
The researchers concluded that experiencing financial difficulty is a significant predictor for diminished work or daily activity participation due to physical and emotional stresses. Clinicians and health policy makers need to understand how socioeconomic factors may prevent individuals with lower limb loss from achieving higher levels of functional recovery and community reintegration after amputation.
The study, “Financial difficulty in community-dwelling persons with lower limb loss is associated with reduced self-perceived health and wellbeing,” was published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International.