Question

What are the differences in vocational handicaps for individuals with single lower extremity amputations and single upper extremity amputations?

Answer

Individuals with single lower extremity amputations have great potential for vocational rehabilitation. The primary function that is impaired by a lower extremity amputation is ambulation. Work around uneven terrain and hazardous machinery should be avoided. Other difficulties that may be encountered by individuals with lower extremity amputations that can impact work include: sitting for prolonged periods, standing for prolonged periods, crawling, climbing, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, prolonged walking, working at unprotected heights, or pushing and pulling for pedal or equipment operation. Psychological complications and chronic pain may also impact employment.

Individuals with single upper extremity amputations will also experience vocational handicaps. Depending on the type and level of amputation, individuals with upper extremity amputations may experience: difficulty with activities of daily living (dressing/ maintaining personal care); severe disruption in basic vocational tasks; restrictions on bimanual coordination, eye-hand coordination, arm-hand coordination, manual and finger dexterity, gross and fine manipulative skills, motor coordination, grip strength for grasping, use of small hand tools and power tools, lifting capacities, carrying, pushing, and pulling. Additional restrictions on climbing, balancing, working in awkward positions and work about unprotected heights may be encountered.

Psychological complications may add to vocational limitations including: the inability to relate to people and communicate ideas, restriction on the ability to communicate ideas and influence others, an inability handle situational stress, and an inability to relate to people in a manner which would win confidence and establish rapport. Limitations on concentration, physical stamina, endurance, and the ability to attend to tasks over a sustained period of time are also possible.

For limitations related to each specific amputation, please refer back to your online reading assignments.

 

Please note: This information was taken from the reading assignments written by Hugh J. Panton, CPO.

Panton, H. “Vocational Handicaps and Rehabilitation for Lower Extremity Amputation.” In P. Deutsch and H. Sawyer (Ed.) A Guide to Rehabilitation. White Plains, NY: AHAB Press.

Panton, H. “Vocational Handicaps and Rehabilitation for Upper Extremity Amputation.” In P. Deutsch and H. Sawyer (Ed.) A Guide to Rehabilitation. White Plains, NY: AHAB Press.

Panton, H. “Vocational Implications.” In P. Deutsch and H. Sawyer (Ed.) A Guide to Rehabilitation. White Plains, NY: AHAB Press.

Back.png               Navigate.png              Next.png