Post-amputation rehabilitation affects all aspects of life, with pain, functional ability, depression, and social support affecting patient coping and return to work. Exploring the combined effect of these variables on patient rehabilitation provided further clarification of patient needs in nursing science, research, and practice. The purposes of this study were to explore the relationships among pain, functional ability, depression, and social support with coping and return to work for persons with a lower extremity amputation; and the extent to which pain, functional ability, depression, and social support predicted the ability to cope and return to work. A third purpose was to examine the interrelatedness of the concepts of pain, functional ability, depression, and social support for congruency with Roy's Theory of Adaptation.
A descriptive study design was used to examine the characteristics of identified variables. The sample (N = 101) was recruited from 18 amputee support groups, a national amputee organization, and six prosthetists.
A correlational descriptive design was used to identify if there were correlations between the predictor variables and the dependent variables. In analyzing the data, no multiple regressions were identified with the dependent variable coping. With the dependent variable return to work, discriminant factor analysis identified a moderate discrimination of return to work with the respondent groups "returned to work" and "not returned to work." The Roy Adaptation Model was not supported by the study research questions and the sample; however, additional analyses supported the use of the Roy Adaptation Model for lower extremity amputee research.
More than half of the study sample had at least one co-morbidity; therefore, the most evident need is for education of the public as a whole to understand the significance and risk of hypertension, diabetes, and renal disease. The results of this study will provide information to clinical nursing and the collaborative healthcare team. Educating nurses in the care of chronic diseases and their risks, the needs of amputees as they learn to adapt to their changing body image, and the benefits of collaborative team care will benefit the amputee population.