As an occupational therapist at the MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute, Cori Nosin, MS, OTR/L, works with patients who have had upper extremity amputations. Beyond the physical toll of an amputation, she knows that many of those with limb loss or limb difference feel alone.
“I get to know my patients really well, and I know that as much support as we try to wrap around them, undergoing an amputation can still be an isolating experience,” she says. “People don’t always know how to deal with it, and it’s vital that they become part of a community where they can find others who understand.”
Enter the Amputee Coalition.
Nosin, who is also the Outpatient Occupational Therapy Supervisor, became familiar with the Amputee Coalition at a health conference. After learning more, she was certain the national organization would enhance her patients’ quality of life.
Through education and advocacy, the Amputee Coalition helps amputees and their families live life to the fullest after amputation. One of the key ways they do this is through their nationwide peer support network.
“Having someone else to show you the way—someone who really gets it—is vital,” Nosin explains. “Now through the Amputee Coalition’s peer support network, we can connect patients with other individuals who have experienced an amputation. They can share lived experiences and relate to one another in a way that family and caregivers are unable to do.”
Those in the peer support network are further in their amputation journey and have gone through training to support someone else coming to terms with the change. Both she and Margo McGreal, PT, who sees patients with lower extremity amputations, believe the peer support network will enrich patient lives and build confidence.
“While many of our patients have supportive family and friends, it’s helpful to have someone who truly understands and can help them navigate and figure out how to normalize it in their lives,” says Nosin.
Eventually, they hope that some MetroHealth patients will join the network to support others, so Nosin and McGreal can tap into local peer support resources. Additionally, as part of the Amputee Coalition, MetroHealth has access to patient resources from a credible organization.
Interdisciplinary team appointments
Along with Joelle Gabet, MD, Director of Amputee Rehabilitation, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the MetroHealth team sees approximately 400-600 amputee patients annually. To ensure a continuum of care and provide as much ease and convenience as possible, patients have interdisciplinary appointments with Dr. Gabet, their therapist, and, if needed, the prosthetist to ensure care is coordinated and collaborative, with articulated goals everyone is working toward.