I read an interesting article by Lola Butcher in the Bulletin of our professional organization, the American College of Surgeons.
She described how the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) has been working with Dr. Jeffrey Gambel, a physiatrist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC to develop a Peer Network for veteral amputees. The ACA has a vibrant National Peer Network, but Dr. Gambel found that just because a person showed up and volunteered to help counsel new amputees didn't mean that they had the necessary skills. Often the conversations were one-sided without the soldier ever being drawn out. Also most non-combat related amputees are much older and suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, so it was difficult for the troops fresh out of their teenage years to relate to them.
With the help of the ACA a cadre of trained peer amputee visitors was educated and now serves the veteran amputees undergoing rehabilitation at Walter Reed.
If you or anyone you know would like to learn more about the Amputee Coalition of America, their website can be found here:
If you have had an experience with the peer visitors, I would appreciate learning your thoughts on the program in the comments here.
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