Like many of you, the Amputee Coalition is monitoring COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) as it continues to evolve day by day. As a nonprofit health advocacy organization, we want to communicate and engage on emerging health news responsibly. We have made changes to prepare and protect our volunteers, staff, and community. Serving our community and ensuring the well-being of our team is at the forefront of all these decisions.
Amputee Coalition Staff
- As of mid-March, our physical offices are closed, and the Amputee Coalition staff is currently running our programs and services remotely. The National Limb Loss Resource Center is fully operational. The Resource Center staff are receiving and handling calls and email inquiries from their remote work locations. We want to continue to ensure we can provide physical materials to our community safely and efficiently, so we have obtained a third-party fulfillment company that uses new and developing safety protocols. You can continue to reach out to the Amputee Coalition staff at 888-267-5669. If you have questions or need resources, you can contact the National Limb Loss Resource Center using our Ask an Information Specialist form or by calling 888-267-5669, option 1. We also have created Community Connections which is a new, searchable online database that identifies services, resources, and support at the national, state, and local levels.
We have encouraged Support Group Leaders and Certified Peer Visitors to rely on social distance and other guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and use their best judgment about moving meetings to online or phone platforms, rather than meeting in person. We’ve asked volunteer leadership to be mindful of state and federal guidance about even very small gatherings or one-on-one conversations. As you know, people who are sick should stay home and not attend support group meetings or any other get-together.
- Support Groups
As the Amputee Coalition learns of monthly support group meeting cancellations, we will update our Support Group Meeting Calendar. We encourage all interested support group attendees to contact a registered support group from our Support Group Network prior to all monthly meetings to learn if the meetings have been cancelled or moved to a virtual meeting. If you are a Support Group Leader and want to still keep your group members connected and engaged, we encourage signing up for a free conference call account with FreeConference.com so that your support group members can spend time together virtually. Other options for phone or video conference support group meetings include Google Hangout, Skype, and Zoom.
- Certified Peer Visitors
Through the Amputee Coalition Support App, individuals living with limb loss and limb differences, as well as family members who are caring for a loved one with limb loss or limb difference, can request and receive a peer visit from a Certified Peer Visitor, and connect with the National Limb Loss Resource Center and Peer Support Department for additional support and resources. Our free app offers in-app text messaging and in-app video chatting while providing Certified Peer Visitors who are registered app users a convenient method for scheduling, conducting, and reporting peer visits. The Support App will work on both Android and iOS mobile devices and is available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. This app is also available using a desktop or personal computer through a Web browser. Virtual peer visits can also be requested to the Amputee Coalition Peer Support Department using our online Request a Peer Visit form, calling 888-267-5669, ext. 8124, or emailing email@example.com.
Please visit our How to Find Support webpage to learn more about the various ways to request and receive virtual peer visits.
Our Hospital Partners
We are aware of the impact the COVID-19 epidemic is having on hospitals and rehab facilities across the country. As in-person restrictions directly alter hospital peer visitation, we will continue to support our current and future hospital partners and their limb loss and limb difference patients and families by providing a connection to our patient resources and virtual peer support services.
- Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month (LLAM)
This year for Limb Loss and Limb Difference Awareness Month (April), we promoted more virtual engagement in the community. We offered 30 “Daily Dares”, a media tool kit, advocacy resources, an online store to find LLAM orange-ribbon merchandise, and a fundraising kit. Any time of year, we encourage you to connect virtually with your community in promoting limb loss and limb difference awareness.
- Advocacy Forum
The Amputee Coalition held its 2020 Advocacy Forum online. Virtual engagement has been our best opportunity to educate federal lawmakers. Attendees learned about advocacy, policy priorities, and how to educate Members of Congress about living with limb loss and limb difference.
- Limb Loss Education Days (LLEDs)
We have canceled previously scheduled LLEDs due to the current COVID-19 situation. We have one tentatively scheduled for November 2020 in Phoenix. We will continue to monitor the situation to determine if it will take place.
- National Conference
Our National Conference will be held online from August 20-22. Please check the Amputee Coalition website for more information: https://www.amputee-coalition.org.
Our Community as a Whole
- Preparing for and Protection from COVID-19
We recognize and value your role as a member of the community and that you may interact with populations who may be more susceptible to COVID-19. For the most up-to-date information and guidance on prevention and preparedness, please visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus website. We will continue to rely on trusted sources, like the CDC, for information about the disease. We encourage all of you to follow public health guidance regarding school closures, avoiding crowds, and other social/physical distancing measures and to please adhere to your state’s mandates. The CDC and your physician’s office are your best sources of information for COVID-19 diagnosis, prevention, and management questions. Some general rules of thumb from the CDC:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20
- Use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not readily
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed
- If you are a wheelchair or other assistive device user, wash the surfaces of your wheelchair or other assistive device frequently. Wash your hands before cleaning the wheelchair or assistive device and
- Practice social distancing-keep at least 6 feet apart from others especially in social settings.
- Stay home if you are sick
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your
- Wear a face mask over your nose and
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily.
- You can find the full list of CDC Guidelines on how to protect yourself here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
We will continue to be here for you while we are all adapting to our new normal. You can reach out to us for support by calling 888-267-5669 or by clicking on any of these useful links:
- American Psychological Association (APA)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Race and Ethnicity Disparities in Limb Loss (Amputee Coalition Fact Sheet)
It is not the intention of the Amputee Coalition to provide specific medical or legal advice but rather to provide consumers with information to better understand their health and healthcare issues. The Amputee Coalition does not endorse any specific treatment, technology, company, service or device. Consumers are urged to consult with their healthcare providers for specific medical advice or before making any purchasing decisions involving their care.
This project was supported, in part, by grant number 90LLRC0001-01-00, from the Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy.
© 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.