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Delays in care can cause psych injury in amputee: One Call

An injured worker who suffers a traumatic accident resulting in an amputation and who experiences “prolonged delays” in treatment, prosthetic fitting or rehabilitation runs the risk of  never returning to work or enduring a psychological injury, according to a white paper released Monday by One Call Care Management Inc.

Citing 2017 Occupation Medicine journal statistics that show that 18% of those with an upper limb amputation never return to employment and that the medium time off for those who do return was about six months, One Call researchers wrote that “the pace at which an injured worker moves through the recovery process often determines their ability to return to work.”

Healing for an amputation can take up to six weeks and complications — infections and chronic wounds, for example — can add up to eight weeks to the recovery time, according to the paper. Emotional and psychological factors can also complicate recovery, researchers wrote.

“Individuals experience both physical and psychological injuries related to the loss of a limb,” the paper states. “The psychological factors are often multifactorial with grief and depression playing a significant role. Add any financial concerns due to an inability to return to work quickly, and this begins to weigh heavily on an injured worker’s mental outlook on life.

One Call said speedier recovery timing can help the worker see the potential for healing, writing “the sooner an individual can gain a positive outlook.”