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Military inStep - A Publication of the Amputee Coalition in Partnership with the U.S. Army Amputee Patient Care Program. 2005.
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The Recovery Process

The Amputee Coalition uses six phases to describe the recovery process after amputation.





Surviving amputation surgery and the pain that follows

Hanging on; focusing on present to get through the pain; blocking out distress about future -it is a conscious choice not to deal with the full meaning of the loss; self-protection


Questioning: Why me? How will I…?

Intense feelings about the loss: fear, denial, anger, depression; vulnerable and confused; return to Enduring stage; emotional anguish about the loss of self adds to the pain


Becoming aware of the new reality

Coming to terms with the extent of the loss; accepting what is left after the loss; implications of the loss for future -how will roles change; ongoing process; minimizing own losses in comparison to others’ losses


Putting the loss in perspective

Regaining control; increased awareness of one’s strengths and uniqueness; more assertive; taking control of one’s life; self-management of illness and recovery; changed body image; need for intimacy


Reordering priorities

Bringing balance to one’s life; establishing and maintaining new routines; once again, doing the things that matter; allowing priorities other than the loss to dominate; advocating for self


Living life to the fullest

Being more than before; trusting self and others; confidence; being a role model to others; this level of recovery is not attained by everyone

New Source of Assistance for Injured Troops and Their Families

U.S. Dept. of Defense Military Severely Injured Center SealSeverely injured service members and their families now have a place to go to help them put their lives back together — whether they want to return to duty or transition to civilian life.

The Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center was officially opened on Feb. 1 by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. The Center operates 24/7 to assist service members and their families at no cost. When calling the Center, a service member or family member will be assigned a care manager to serve as a permanent point of contact. Regional advocates are also available worldwide to help families cope with their new responsibilities and the decisions that must be made when they learn their loved one in the military has been injured.

In addition to working closely with the services, the departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs, and state and local governments, the Center is working with nonprofit groups that have been raising money to provide services and financial help to injured service members.

The Center is staffed by caseworkers (registered nurses with disability experience), service representatives, and members from each of the 10 working groups that support the Center. Each working group covers a specific area of need, such as:

• Medical care and rehabilitation
• Personal, couple and family issues counseling
• Education, training and job placement
• Home, transportation and workplace accommodations
• Financial planning and assistance.

Military Severely Injured Joint Support Operations Center
888/774-1361 • Arlington, Virginia


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Amputee Coalition, the Department of the Army, the Army Medical Department, or any other agency of the US Government.

Back to Top Last updated: 12/07/2014
© 2005. Amputee Coalition. Local reproduction for use by Amputee Coalition constituents is permitted as long as this copyright information is included. Organizations or individuals wishing to reprint this article in other publications, including other World Wide Web sites must contact the Amputee Coalition for permission to do so.