On average, 507 people lose a limb every day in the United States. This number is expected to almost double by 2050 unless a major public awareness campaign is launched and key prevention initiatives put in place, according to an expert task force convened by the Amputee Coalition of America (ACA). The Limb Loss Task Force met in Washington, D.C. on April 16-18 to develop a series of recommendations that will serve as the roadmap to limb loss prevention and improved care for amputees across the country.
The Task Force reviewed in-depth facts and figures that demonstrate the urgency for a strategic approach to limb loss prevention and improved amputee care.
“No comprehensive or integrated plan exists on the national or state level that reflects amputee care within the civilian population – no mechanism for limb loss prevention advancement, cost reduction, or care improvement for people affected by limb loss,” Kendra Calhoun, president and chief executive officer of the ACA said in a press release. “In convening this expert task force, our board of directors is taking initiative to create a plan that will have a powerful impact on resolving these issues in the next decade.”
The task force, consisting of experts in limb loss – physicians, podiatrists, nurses, physical therapists, prosthetists, health behavior experts and researchers from the private and public sectors, the military and the federal government – recommended a four-point action plan consisting of the following:
- Implement a blueprint for limb loss prevention;
- Host a consensus conference to define national optimal care guidelines for amputees;
- Develop a national research agenda on limb loss prevention and amputation care; and
- Create a model for amputee rehabilitation/community reintegration and early limb loss prevention to be implemented in hospitals and clinics around the country.
“We applaud the task force’s decision to support a comprehensive four-point plan. This is the right direction, and we are confident the support of the task force combined with our organization’s execution of the four-point plan, will provide a powerful impact in the fight against limb loss and the pursuit of improved amputee care,” Terrence P. Sheehan, MD, ACA’s medical director and chief medical officer of the Adventist Rehab Hospital of Maryland, said. “Keeping Americans healthy and living to their full potential are our primary goals.”