Open communication could help amputees cope with limb loss

TUCSON, Ariz. — Open communication with family members and friends could help upper limb amputees cope with emotional issues, according to a speaker at the Amputee Coalition National Conference, here.

Each patient faces unique challenges, but many experience feelings of lost independence or identity, Ruth M. Morris, LMSW, MPH, medical social worker at Advanced Arm Dynamics, said.

“It is so much more than just a missing limb. A lot of it is your social interactions, your career — if you are missing your dominant hand, maybe your signature or the way you wear your jewelry is different,” she said. “A lot of things that represent our identity, that make us who we are … are connected to that limb.”

The grief attached to limb loss depends on age, life stage, cultural background and societal impact, Morris said. But when the patient and caregiver discuss these aspects, it could play a key role in mental recovery.

Ruth M. Morris

“Health is more than just the absence of disease,” Morris quoted from the World Health Organization Constitution. “It is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.”

Morris encouraged patients to participate in open dialogue about the personal aspects of their limb loss, but noted that if they experience depression, to seek therapists, psychologists, counselors or peer groups for professional support. – by Shawn M. Carter


Morris R. Upper limb loss social and emotional issues. Presented at: Amputee Coalition National Conference; July 23-25, 2015; Tucson, Ariz.

Disclosure: Morris reports no relevant financial disclosures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.