New Amputee Support Group connects and supports people through life after an amputation

Published in News Author: Carris Health

No one wants to be an expert on what’s like to be an amputee. No one truly understands the rollercoaster of emotions and physical adjustments that patients who have had an amputation go through—except another amputee.

The caregivers at Carris Health Care Center’s short-stay rehabilitation, Therapy Suites, wanted to provide their patients recovering from an amputation with the best care, so their rehabilitation supervisory team looked for an amputation support group and other resources for their patients. When they found out there was not a group in our region, they started a support group at Therapy Suites.

The Therapy Suites rehabilitation supervisory team (Director of Nursing, Amanda Thorson; Therapy Suites Social Services Mentor, Amy Boettger; Admissions Coordinator, Jill Baker; Therapy Suites Clinical Coordinator, Pat Oss; and Therapy Suites Life Enrichment Coordinator, Kelly Chaput) were developing their support group when, Mitch Nowak and Charlotte Begnaud of REBOUND Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc. heard about the new support group and offered to co-sponsor it.

Mitch and Charlotte meet with patients at Therapy Suites (and after they return home) to create a prosthetic to fit their amputation and their lifestyle–to provide the person with most effective new mobility.

Wendy Hoffman-Reyes has attended every amputee support group since it began in January of 2018. Even though Wendy has been an amputee since February 2016 when she lost her left leg to an infection, she can still learn from others and share what she’s learned.

“I enjoy going to the meetings because people who are going through, or are about to go through an amputation, can come together to share support.
I can get advice on everyday life from those who are amputees and they can understand where I am coming from. I also can give support and advice from my experiences as an amputee,” shared Wendy.

Roger Powers and Winston
Roger Powers and Winston

The support group has a new buddy and his owner, Winston (the dog) and Roger Powers. Roger found Winston as a rescue at the Kandiyohi & Meeker County Humane Society; where veterinarians were unable to save his injured leg. Roger had been active in Rice Hospice’s Canine Care for the Journey pet therapy program with his Sheltie, Molly, so he thought Winston could also offer a very special kind support.

Recently, Winston and Roger were visiting a patient with an amputation at Therapy Suites. The patient bent down to pet Winston and said, “If you can do it, I can do it.”

Amputee Support Group—for amputees and their loved ones—meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 5:00-6:00 pm in the Gathering Place at Rice Care Center & Therapy Suites (1801 Willmar Avenue SW, Willmar, MN 56201). Dinner is provided.