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Amputation

Accommodation and Compliance: Amputation

About Amputation

Amputation means the loss or absence of all or part of a limb. Causes of amputations include peripheral vascular disease (often associated with diabetes), trauma, tumors, and infections. In the United States, limb loss resulting from vascular conditions, referred to as dysvascular amputation, accounts for the majority of lower extremity amputations. Although the rates of limb differences due to congenital anomalies have remained consistent for several decades, dysvascular amputations have increased significantly.

Upper extremity amputations are most often a result of an accident or trauma, with recent warfare increasing the rate of occurrence in the United States. In general, upper extremity amputations occur more often in younger age groups. In the wake of an amputation, a new amputee could have a myriad of post-operative medical concerns such as pain management, infection, and controlling the swelling and shaping of the residual limb. Additionally, there will likely be a period of significant rehabilitation, with a wide range of therapeutic goals that will vary for each individual. Amputees may experience a wide range of emotions in response to the loss of a limb, including anxiety, sadness, depression, anger, and grief.

Amputation and the Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA does not contain a list of medical conditions that constitute disabilities. Instead, the ADA has a general definition of disability that each person must meet. A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such an impairment, or is regarded as having an impairment. For more information about how to determine whether a person has a disability under the ADA, see How to Determine Whether a Person Has a Disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA).

Accommodating Employees with Amputation

People with amputations may develop some of the limitations discussed below, but seldom develop all of them. Also, the degree of limitation will vary among individuals. Be aware that not all people with amputations will need accommodations to perform their jobs and many others may only need a few accommodations. The following is only a sample of the possibilities available. Numerous other accommodation solutions may exist.

Questions to Consider:

  1. What limitations is the employee experiencing?
  2. How do these limitations affect the employee and the employee’s job performance?
  3. What specific job tasks are problematic as a result of these limitations?
  4. What accommodations are available to reduce or eliminate these problems? Are all possible resources being used to determine possible accommodations?
  5. Has the employee been consulted regarding possible accommodations?
  6. Once accommodations are in place, would it be useful to meet with the employee to evaluate the effectiveness of the accommodations and to determine whether additional accommodations are needed?
  7. Do supervisory personnel and employees need training?

Accommodation Ideas:

Situations and Solutions:

Events Regarding Amputation